Refusing to marry at 15, Clare was moved by the dynamic preaching of Francis. He became her lifelong friend and spiritual guide. At 18, Clare escaped from her father’s home one night and went to the small Franciscan chapel where she exchanged her jewels for a rough woolen habit and sacrificed her long tresses to Francis’ scissors. He placed her in a Benedictine convent, which her father and uncles immediately stormed in rage. Clare clung to the altar of the church, threw aside her veil to show her cropped hair, and remained. Sixteen days later her sister Agnes joined her. Others came. They lived a simple life of great poverty, austerity, and complete seclusion from the world. They went barefoot, slept on the ground, ate no meat, and observed almost complete silence. Later Clare, like Francis, persuaded her sisters to moderate this rigor: “Our bodies are not made of brass.” The greatest emphasis, of course, was on gospel poverty. They possessed no property, even in common, subsisting on daily contributions. Clare served the sick and washed the feet of the begging nuns. When she came from prayer, it was said, her face was so shining, it dazzled those about her. She suffered serious illness for the last 27 years of her life. Her influence was such that popes, cardinals, and bishops often came to consult her—Clare herself never left the walls of San Damiano. Excerpts from Franciscanmedia.org.