Saint Clare of Assisi

Baltasar Vargas de Figueroa (attributed)

Saint Claire of Assisi (Siglo XVII) by Baltasar Vargas de Figueroa (attributed)Santa Clara Museum

Saint Clare of Assisi was a 13th-century Italian woman who, inspired by the life of Saint Francis, founded the female branch of the Franciscan order, known as the Second Order or Order of the Poor Clares. Poverty, obedience, and chastity are the vows that govern this community.

The vow of poverty is related to the figure of Saint Francis. By adopting his teachings, Clare decided to divest herself of her material goods, for which she is depicted with the simple Franciscan habit in dark gray and a knotted cord that is not entirely visible.

Over her nun’s veil, exquisitely adorned with a black lace, color linked to her high rank in the convent, she wears a flower crown that connotes her position as the patron saint of the order of the Poor Clares. Both elements are symbols of her origin in nobility.

Over her habit, the saint wears a silver pluvial cape with gold ornamentation and red lining. In her left hand, she carries a staff, an object that denotes her investiture as abbess.

The monstrance the saint carries alludes to an event occurred during Frederick II’s invasion of Assisi in 1240. According to hagiographers, the Saracens tried to invade the monastery, but Clare, drove them away by showing them the monstrance, which shone until they were dazzled.

In the lunette of this monstrance, that is to say, in the central crystal surrounded by metallic rays, there is a representation of the scene of Christ on the cross and of the three accompanying figures.

The order of the Poor Clares arrived in New Granada during the process of evangelization. It was by the hand of Archbishop Hernando Arias de Ugarte that the Royal Convent of Our Lady of Saint Clare was founded in Santafé. The former church of that convent houses this piece today.

This female convent intended to receive the noble and virtuous maidens of the city, who would seek following in Saint Clare footsteps.

In their monastic exercise, these women sought to expiate the sins of the entire society through prayers and devotional practices.

Credits: Story

Museum Director

María Constanza Toquica Clavijo
Manuel Amaya Quintero
Anamaría Torres Rodríguez
María Isabel Téllez Colmenares
Collection Management
Paula Ximena Guzmán López
Tanit Barragán Montilla
Andrea Valentina Bastidas Cano

Credits: All media
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