Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Matthew (16: 24-28) in which Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me’. Afterwards, Fr Paul shares a little about the life of St Clare, whose memorial we celebrate today. Fr Paul says Clare was born at Assisi and came under the influence of Saint Francis. She left home at the age of 18 and, under Francis’s guidance, began a community that grew to become the order of the Poor Clares. She was later joined both by her sister and then by her widowed mother. In its radical attachment to poverty the Rule of the order was much more severe than that of any other order of nuns. In 1215 Clare obtained from the Pope the privilege of owning nothing, so that the nuns of the order were to be sustained by alms and nothing else. Such a rule was both a challenge to established structures and a risk to those who followed it, and successive Popes tried to modify this Rule In 1247 Pope Innocent IV promulgated a new Rule that allowed the ownership of communal property: Clare rewrote it. So, some communities followed the old, strict rule and some followed the new. Clare was a noted contemplative and a caring mother to her nuns. She died at Assisi in 1253. So today Fr Paul invites us to ask ‘St Clare…pray for us!’