The world's Catholics -not merely the Franciscans--are celebrating "Clarian Year," to observe the eighth centenary of the conversion and consecration of Saint Clare of Assisi (1193-1253) which tradition tells us took place on Palm Sunday 1211 or 1212. Pope Benedict XVI wrote to Bishop Domenico Sorrentino of Assisi - Nocera Umbra - Gualdo Tadino to express his own affection for the continued witness of Saint Clare.
Saint Clare's history "also speaks to our generation, and has a particular fascination for the young. All Christian life, and thus also consecrated life is the fruit of the Paschal Mystery and of our participation in the death and resurrection of Christ. In the Palm Sunday liturgy pain and glory come together, a theme which will be developed over the following days through the dark night of the Passion up to the ultimate light of Easter. With her choice Clare relived this mystery.
At its most profound level, Clare's 'conversion' is a conversion of love. No longer would she have the refined dress of the Assisan aristocracy, but an elegance of soul expressed in praise of God and giving of self. Day by day a fraternity came into being within the confines of the monastery of San Damiano, at the school of the Eucharistic Christ, ... a fraternity regulated by love of God and prayer, by concern for others and service. It was in this context of profound faith and great humanity that Clare came to interpret the Franciscan ideal, imploring the 'privilege' of poverty and renouncing even the shared possession of material goods, something which left even the Supreme Pontiff perplexed, until in the end he too surrendered to the heroism of her sanctity.