THE DEATH, BURIAL, TRANSLATION, FINDING, AND RESTORATION OF THE BODY OF SAINT CLARE The death of Saint Clare

is described in chapters 26 to 30 in the Legend attributed to Thomas of Celano. Sporadic descriptions may be traced in the testimonies of persons who witnessed her passing from this life as provided by the Process of Canonization:

Witness III, sections 20-22, 23, 24, 32. Witness IV, section 19 Witness IX, sections 7, 10. Witness X, section 10. Witness XI, sections 3, 4. Witness XIV, section 7.
The following works treat precisely of Saint Clare’s death on August 11, 1253:

Alessandri, L. Ed. La morte di S. Chiara. Da S. Marco ad Assisi. Numero unico illustrato per il solemne ingresso di Mons. Ambrogio Luddi Vest. d'Assisi. Florence 1905. Locatelli, Vincenzo, O.F.M. Morte, funerali e canonizzazione della S. Chiara. Vita di Santa Chiara di Assisi. Assisi: Dall'editrice tipografia Sgariglia, 1855. Bk. 5, 342402. Locatelli Paolucci, Tommaso. Vita breve di S Chiara d'Assisi Vergine e fondatrice dell'O. delle clarisse. Assisi: Sansi, 1882: 121-30. Nicanore, Priori. "Del giorno e dell'ora della morte di S. Chiara d'Assisi." Eco di S. Francesco (Naples) 22 (1894): 781-8. Poor Clare Nuns, Proto - monastery of Assisi. To Live and to Die According to the Form of the Holy Gospel. Communion and Communication 13 (1992): 17-27.
A letter of notification was sent to all monasteries professing her Rule. The earliest transcript of this letter was discovered by Zeferino Lazzeri:

Biblioteca Nazionale, Florence. Liber epistolarum secundum, usum Curiae Romanae et aliorum Principium.
He included this discovery in the following study:

Lazzeri, Zeferino, O.F.M. Il processo di canonizzazione di S. Chiara d'Assisi. Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 13 (1920): 494-9.

Other texts and commentaries on the Letter of Notification of the death of Saint Clare in:

Armstrong,Regis J., O.F.M. Clare of Assisi: Early Documents. New York/Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1988. 122-4. Revised and expanded: St. Bonaventure, NY: The Franciscan Institute, 1993: 129; Saint Clare of Assisi: the Lady. Early Documents. New York: New City Press, 2006: 135. Omaechevarria,Ingacio, O.F.M. Escritos di Santa Clara y documentos complementarios. Madrid: Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos, 1982: 55-9. Vorreux, Damien, O.F.M. Sainte Claire d'Assise: Documents. Paris: Éditions Franciscaines, 1983: 147-51.
The funeral was held at San Damiano, after which the body was carried by laymen to San Georgio with the friars leading the procession into the city, singing God's praises. Clare's body was temporarily laid to rest at the Church of San Georgio (1253-1260), as Francis' had been, while preparations were being made for a suitable tomb. The History of this chapel was researched in the following:

Bigaroni, Marino, O.F.M. La chiesa di S. Georgio in Assisi. Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 83 (1990): 3-49. English: The Church of San Georgio in Assisi and the First Expansion of the Medieval City Walls. Translated Lori Pieper. Greyfriars Review 8 (1994): 57-101. Bracalone, Leone, O.F.M. Chiesa di S. Georgio e Basilica di Santa Chiara. Frate Francesco 11 (1925): 332-42. La chiesa di S. Georgio, Assisi. Collectanea Franciscana. 7 (1938): 493-511. Locatelli , Voncenzo. Vita di Santa Chiara di Assisi. Assisi: Dall'editrice tipografia Sgariglia, 1855: 121-30.

The Transfer of Clare's Body to Santa Chiara (1260) On September 9, 1260 Alexander IV sent a letter inviting, and even commanding, the presence of numerous prelates to the solemn occasion of the transfer of Clare's remains to the new tomb at Santa Chiara. This letter begins "Cum in vigilia..." It is found in the following:

Fiege, Marianus, O.F.M. The Princess of Poverty: S. Clare of Assisi. Evansville, IN: Poor Clare Nuns, 1900; Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1991: 187. Pothast, A. Registra Pontificum Romanorum inde ab A. Post Christus Natum MCXCVIII ad A. MCCCIV. Vol.1 (Berlin 1873); vol. 2 (Berlin 1875): 2, 17942.

Sbaralea, J.H.. Bullarium Franciscanum Romanorum Pontificum. vol. I, 1759: 407, n.578.
On October 3, 1260, Clare's remains were transferred to the magnificent tomb prepared for her at the Monastery of Santa Chiara which was possibly still under construction at that time. Sister Benedetta, Clare's successor, then moved to the new monastery although some sisters remained at San Damiano. There is a description of the translation in the following:

Fiege, Marianus. O. Min. Acts and Documents Concerning the Translation of the Body of Saint Clare. The Princess of Poverty: Saint Clare of Assisi. Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1989: 185-89. Casolini, Fausta. Trionfi e contrasti. Il Protomonastero di Santa Chiara, Storia e cronaca (1253-1953). Assisi: Garzanti, 1954: 33-49. Leon, Abbe (le Mounier), O.F.M. Translation of Saint Clare of Assisi. Lives of the Saints and Blessed of the Three Orders of Saint Francis. Taunton: Franciscan Convent, 1885: 272-3. Locatelli Paolucci, Tommaso. Si descrivono la Chiesa, e il nuovo Sepolcro. Vita Breve di S. Chiara di Assisi Vergine e fondatrice dell'O. delle Clarisse. Assisi: Sansi, 1882: 14655. Locatelli, Vincenzo. Vita di Santa Chiara di Assisi. Assisi: Dall'editrice tipografia Sgariglia, 1855: 288-291. Relazione storica relativa al sotteraneo Construito sulla Tomba di S. Chiara di Assisi.... Assisi: Tip. del Sensi, 1873. Ulli, Andrea. Del sotteraneo e della tomba di Santa Chiara di Assisi Cenni storichi. Assisi: Tip. del Sensi, 1873.
The bodies of some of Clare's companions at San Damiano were also translated to Santa Chiara's at that time. A list is given in the following:

Bihl, Michael, O.F.M. "Documenta inedita archivi S. Clarae Assisii." Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 5 (1912): 672 note 3. Jacobili, Lodovico. Vita di Santi e Beati all'Umbria e di quelli i corpi dei quali riposano in essa provincia. Foligno Vol. I: 1647; vol. 2, 1656: xii-xiii. Locatelli Paolucci, Tomasso. Vita breve di S. Chiara di Assisi: 183-186. [The remains of St. Agnes and others.]

A celebration commemorating the 700th anniversary of the translation of Clare's body, observed on October 3, 1960, was described in the following:

Fortini, Arnaldo. Nel settimo centenario della traslazione del corpo di S. Chiara. (Assisi, 3 ottobre 1260 -3 ottobre 1960). Assisi: Azienda Autonoma di Turismo, 1960.

THE FINDING OF THE BODY OF SAINT CLARE - 1850 The bodies of Francis and Clare remained buried for 600 years. The body of St. Francis, excavated in 1818, gave way to a longing to find the remains of St. Clare, also. The Latin inscription on the steps of the main altar announced: Here lies the body of Saint Clare. But the exact location was unknown. On August 23, 1850, with permission of the Holy See, Bishop Luigi authorized the commencement of the search for Clare's tomb. His letter is found in the following:

Fiege, Marianus, O.F.M. Acts and Documents Concerning the Finding of the Body of S. Clare. The princess of Poverty S. Clare of Assisi. Evansville, IN: Monastery of St. Clare, 1908; Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1991: 189-200. Locatelli Paolucci, Tommaso. Vita Breve di S. Chiara di Assisi Vergine e fondatrice dell'O. delle Clarisse. Assisi: Sansi, 1882: 135-45.
Other correspondence:

Locatelli, Vincenzo. Morte, funerali e canonizzazione della S. Chiara. Vita di Santa Chiara di Assisi. Assisi: Dall'editrice tipografia Sgariglia, 1855. [Also contains letters from Abbesses around the world as the search began.]
By August 30th the stone coffin was located and by September 22nd it was ready to be opened. This is described in the following works:

Antonelli, Ferdinando, O.F.M. Ricognizione del corpo di S. Chiara. Santa Chiara d'Assisi: studi e cronaca del VII Centenario (1253-1953): 586-9. ___. Ricognizione delle reliquie di S.Chiara. Chiara d'Assisi 2 (1954): 43-7. [This is the early title of Forma Sororum, the spiritual review of the Poor Clares of the Italian Federations] Del sotterrano e della tomba di Santa Chiara. Assisi: Sensi, 1873. [An account of the history concerning the underground construction of the tomb of St. Clare of Assisi and of the testimony given by her holy remains on the 3rd of October, 1872.

Demore, Francesco, O.F.M. Vie de Sainte Claire d'Assisi. Paris 1870. Fiege, Marianus. O.F.M. The Princess of Poverty. S. Clare of Assisi. Evansville, IN: Poor Clare Nuns, 1900; Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1991: 195-200. Finding of the Body of St. Clare. Miscellanea Francescana 63 (1963): 390. Leon, Abbe (de Mounier), O.F.M. Invention of the Body of St. Clare of Assisi. Lives of the Saints and Blessed of the Three Orders of Saint Francis, III. Taunton: Franciscan Convent, 1885:222-3. Mary Clare, P.C.C. The Finding of the Body of Saint Clare. The Cord 35 (1985): 247-53. Sunto storico sulla avventurosa invenzione del Corpo di S. Chiara d'Assisi.... Verona: Tip. de'Figli di Maria, 1860. Zanelli, Dom. Sulla venturose invenzione del corpo di S. Chiara di Assisi nel settembre del 1850 relazione storica. Assisi: Sgariglia, [1850].
Since the memorable occasion when Clare's body was made available to the public, celebrations have renewed its joy. There are commemorative accounts like the following: Fiftieth Anniversary of the Finding of Clare's Body (1900). Atti dell'Invenzione del Corpo di S. Chiara d'Assisi. S. Chiara di Assisi nel cinquantesimo dall'invenzione del corpo (1899): 10-13. [A periodical originally published in French by Antonine Ricard. Translated: Francesco Pennacchi, O.F.M. Published regularly throughout the year preceding the 50th Aniversary. Contains posters and poems advertising the commemoration, , etc.] Comitato esecutivo del cinquantesimo dall'invenzione del corpo di S. Chiara d'Assisi 1 (1899-1900). [A periodical published by the Curia the year preceding the finding of the body. Contains pictures, posters, poems. No further issues were published.] One-hundredth Anniversary of the Finding of Clare's Body (1950)

Davanti a S. Chiara. A ricordo del 1 Centenario della invenzione del corpo di S. Chiara. A.S. (1950); L'Osservatore Romano September 23, 1950.

7th Centenary of Clare's Death (1953) In 1953 the 7th centenary of Clare's death was solemnly celebrated throughout the world. There were many articles and books published to commemorate this occasion. A complete list of all literature published on Clare during the centenary may be found in:

Collectanea Franciscana 27-28 (1957-1958): 819-67. Assisi. VII centenario della morte di S. Chiara. Assisi: S. Maria degli Angeli, Fratelli Mecatti, 1952. Beda, Mayer [Von Ebnet],O.F.M.Cap. Die heilige Klara und die Päpste. Zum siebten Zentenar ihres seligen Todes. Kirchenzeitung 121 (1953): 383-5; 395-6. [Includes Innocent III, Honorius III, Gregory IX, Innocent IV, Alexander IV, Pius IX, Pius XI, Pius XII.] Bracaloni, Leone, O.F.M. Un centenario da non dimenticare. L'Osservatore Romano July 27, 1950. Centenario Santa Chiara d'Assisi. Numero unico. Cesena, 1953. Claire d'Assise. Special edition of Nos Missions 20 (1953) on the occasion of the 7th centenary of the death of St. Clare. Lyons: Comité national français de SainteClaire. Clasen, Sophronius, O.F.M. "Fürstin der Armen". Neuerscheinungen zum KlaraJubiläum 1953. Wissenschaft und Weisheit 17 (1954): 81-8. Cornelio de San Felices, O.F.M.Cap. "Circular con motivo del VII centenario de la muerte de Santa Clara." Bol. Of.Prov.Cap. Castilla 5 (1952): 133-42. ___. Carta del M.R.P. Provincial de los Frailes Menores Capuchinos de Castilla a las Religiosas Capuchinas con motivo del VII Centenario de la muerete de Santa Clara (1253-1953). Madrid: Adm. El Mensajero Seráfico, 1952. Di qua e di là di un muro. Revue Assisi du VIIe Centenaire, 1953. Fortini, Arnaldo. Cronache dell' Anno di Santa Chiara. Perugia: Edizione Centro Italia, 1953.

___. Programma delle manifestazioni religiose e civili che seguiranno dal 1 gennaio al 31 dicembre 1953 per onorare il VII centenario della morte di S. Chiara (August 11, 1253August 11, 1953). Assisi: Santa Maria degli Angeli, 1952. ___. Messaggio ai devoti di San Francesco e ai Frate Minori dagli Stati Uniti d'America in occasione dell'anno di Santa Chiara. International Society of Franciscan Studies, Assisi. Assisi: Tipografia Metastasio, 1953. English: To the Friars Minor and all lovers of Saint Francis in the United States of America. Assisi: Tipografia Metastasio, 1953. Le 7e centenaire de la mort de sainte Claire d'Assise au monastère des Clarisses de BordeauxTalence. Neuvaine solenneiie, 10-18 octobre 1953. Bordaeux: Impr. de Brière, 1954. Maximilianus [van Moerdijk], O.F.M.Cap. Nalezing bij het Eeuwfeest van Sint Clara. Franciscaans Leven 37 (1954): 6-13. Souvenir de Sainte Claire d'Assise. Rev. Gén. Belge 89 (1955): 895-901. Omaechevarria,Ignacio, O.F.M. Monjas Clarisas en el mundo a los setecientos años de la muerte de Santa Clara. Esp. Mis. 10 (1953): 357-67. Pius Pp. XII. Nuntius radiophonicus: Christifidelibus Neapoli in basilica S. Clarae coadunatis, ob eundum templum e ruinis belli restitutum sacra sollemnia celebrantibus. Acta Apostolica Sedes 45 (1953): 506-9. ___. Epistula ad Exc. mum P. D. Josephum Placidum Nicolini, episcopum Asisinatem ob septimum revolutam saeculum a pio transitu Sanctae Clarae. Acta Apostolica Sedes 45 (1953): 395-98; Acta Ordinis Fratris Minorum 72(1953):169-171; Commentarium Ordinis Fratris Minorum Conventualium 50 (1953): 73-6; Analecta Ordinis Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum 69 (1953): 117-21; Analecta Tertii Ordinis Regularis S. Francisci 6 (1953): 89-93. English: "Pope Pius Greets St. Clare." Franciscan Herald Sept.(1953): 259-357. German: Die hl. Klara als Vorbild für unsere Zeit. Schreben Oapst Pius XII. vom 25 Mai 1953 an den Bishof von Assisi zum 700 jährigen Todestag der hl. Klara. Geist Leben 26 (1953): 298-300. [A letter to Joseph Placid Nicolini, Bishop of Assisi, for the 7th centenary of the death of Saint Clare.] ___. Epistulam Summi Pontificis ad Card. Clementem Micara, occasione occasione sollemnium VII centenarii S.Clarae Acta Ordinis Fratris Minorum 72 (1953): 205-6; Commentarium Ordinis Fratris Minorum Conventualium 50 (1953): 181-2; Analecta Ordinis Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum 69 (1953): 163; Analecta Tertii Ordinis Regularis S. Francisci 6 (1953): 175-6; L'Osservatore Romanum August 13, 1953.

[Letter from the Most High Pontiff to Cardinal Element Micara on the solemn occasion of the VII Centenary of Saint Clare.] Poletto, Anastasio, O.F.M. Transito della Madre S. Chiara d'Assisi. Nel VII Centenario della sua beata morte (1253-1953). Venezia: I.T.E., 1953. Pratese, Ricardo. Letteratura occasione VII Centenarii a transitis S. Clarae (1253-1953). Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 47 (1954): 208-16. [Readings on the occasion of the 7th. centenary of the passing of saint Clare.] (1953): 15-9. Santa Chiara d'Assisi. Studi e cronaca del VII Centenario 1253-1953. Assisi: Comitato Centrale per il VII Centenario Morte S.Chiara, 1954. [Contains studies on this occasion, documents from Franciscan Ministers General, description of celebrations around the world.] Sanctae Clarae sollemnia in regali monasterio S. Clarae in civitate Neapoli habita. Acta Ordinis Fratris Minorum 73 (1954): 43-4.

Sépinski, Augustinus, O.F.M. Literae Encyclicae VII exeunte saeculo a pio transitu Sanctae Matris Clarae Assisiensis. Acta Ordinis Fratris Minorum 72 (1953): 12734. English: Encyclical Letter of Fr. Augustine Sepinski, the Most Reverend Minister General of the entire Order of Friars Minor, on the occasion of the Seventh Centenary of the devout death of the holy mother Clare of Assisi. The Cord 12 (1953): 342-57. Analecta Ordinis Fratris Minorum Cappuccinorum 69 (1953): 121-3. German: Rundschreiben des Hochwürdigsten Generalministers des Franziskanerordens, P. Augustin Sépinski, zum siebenhundersten Jahrestag der hl. Klara von Assisi. Verba Vitae et Salutis 25 (1954): 42-52. Solemnia in honorem S. Clarae Assisiensis Dublini et Hibernia in ecclesia O.F.M. `Adae et Hevae'. Acta Ordinis Fratris Minorum 73 (1954): 44-6. St. Klara von Assisi. (Zum 700 jahrigen Jubiläum 1253-1953). L'Ami de nos Familles 29 (1953): 114-8. Officium Roman Omnibus Peregrinantibus Adjuvandis. [On this occasion there was an elaborate 20 page prospectus published for pilgrims, in Italian, containing a detailed program of the year's events, along with articles on St. Clare and pertinent history.]
750th Anniversary of the Death of Saint Clare

John Paul II. Il Santo Padre alle Clarisse, in occasione del 750 anniversario del transito di S. Chiara. Forma Sororum 41, 6 (2003): 284-290.
Recent status of the body of Saint Clare In 1850 when St. Clare's remains were examined, signs of deterioration were evident. In 1986 extensive scientific restoration began to prevent the total loss of the remains so precious to the Church. This process and the present condition of the remains is described in the following account:

Recognition and Conservation Treatment of the Body of St. Clare of Assisi, as related by the Poor Clares of the Protomonastery November 17, 1986-April 12, 1987. Assisi: Protomonastero di Santa Chiara, N.D.