GIVEAWAY: St. Clare of Assisi, Light from the Cloister


My favorite kind of biography is the kind that reads like a novel, plunging you into the world of its subject and making you feel like an eyewitness to an exemplary life.

Bret Thoman, OFS has written just this type of biography on St. Clare of Assisi, a saint who has amazing name recognition — but who still manages to be an enigma. St. Clare of Assisi: Light from the Cloister (TAN Books, 2017) sheds light on the mysterious life of this companion of St. Francis of Assisi. Thoman calls this book a historical narrative, noting that it’s “a blend of biography and historical fiction, of facts and speculation.” (xv)

That doesn’t mean that Thoman plays fast and loose with history. Rather, his careful use of footnotes makes it abundantly clear when something in the book is historical fact.

As you read this book, you’ll find yourself steeped in the details of Clare’s time and place. You’ll picture the grand palace in which she grew up and from which she fled at the age of 18 to join Francis of Assisi in her quest to follow Christ as he did. You’ll contrast it to the simple but starkly beautiful San Damiano church, surrounded by huts of wood and straw that became Clare’s home for the rest of her life. And you’ll have a front-row seat to conversations between Clare and Francis, to miracles, and to the fruits of her contemplation and prayer.

Take a look at the path St. Clare walked toward San Damiano and a peek at the church and cloister with author Bret Thoman, OFS.

You can be one of 5 winners of St. Clare of Assisi: Light from the Cloister.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

5 winners will each receive one copy of this book. This contest is open through Monday, September 4 at 11:59 PM. Winners will be notified by email and will have 48 hours from the time of notification to claim their prize, or alternate winners will be chosen. This contest is open for USA mailing addresses only.

Be sure to check out our Book Notes archive.

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS
Your purchase of the resources mentioned here through Amazon affiliate links benefits the author of this article.


About Author

Barb Szyszkiewicz is a wife, mom of 3 young adults, and a Secular Franciscan. She is editor at Barb enjoys writing, cooking, and reading, and is a music minister at her parish and an avid Notre Dame football and basketball fan. Find her blog at FranciscanMom and her family’s favorite recipes with nutrition information for diabetics at Cook and Count.


  1. Shaunacey Peplinski on

    I would love to know more about St Therese of Liseaux. I have read books and even have her book, but I have still to get through it. So that’s why I picked her.

  2. I love St. Clare and can’t read enough about her! I originally wrote the first chapter of The Friendship Project about her and St Francis’ friendship but then we went with all women saint friends.

  3. Donna Weathers on

    St Clare is one of my favorite saints and the first woman Franciscan!! Would love to present a book report to my Fraternity about this book.

  4. This book looks awesome-I’d love to learn more about St. Clare, since I’m a huge fan of St. Francis and she was so impactful in his life! I’d also love to get to know more about St. Alphonsa; I know a little bit about her and she seems really awesome 🙂

  5. My oldest daughter’s confirmation Saint is Clare – she loves reading everything she can find about her – I’d love a copy of this book to share with her!

  6. This books looks beautiful. In addition to reading more about St. Clarke, I’d love to learn more about St. Brigid and St. Lucy

  7. I love saint books. After listening to the Augustine Institute’s St. Francis Story, I have 2 daughters who would be all over learning more about St. Clare (and me too!)

  8. St. Patricia. Patricia is my twin sister’s Confirmation name. St. Patricia’s day is August 25th.Thank you for the giveaway.

  9. Bethie McCarthy on

    St. Clare has always been my favorite saint and I try to read every book I can find about her. This new book looks SO good. I would love to read it! God Bless you all.

  10. Well, I’d have to go with St. Anne, my patron! But I know very little about St. Clare and would love to read this book. Thank you for this generous giveaway!

  11. St Clare one of the Saints in our Little Flowers Wreath this year. But also, St. Theresa Benedicta , whom our Priest recently spoke about.

  12. Shauna'h Fuegen on

    St. Clare, for sure, as I’m currently discerning a vocation to the Secular Franciscans. But also St. Genevieve, patron of Paris!

  13. Dear Barb,

    Thank you for the kind review on my new book on St. Clare! I’m glad you appreciated it!

    May the spirit and intercession of Francis and Clare continue to illuminate and guide your journey.

    Bret Thoman, OFS

  14. St Clare and all the saints really! It seems like there is always something new to learn about or to learn from one of the saints.

  15. I would love to read this book about St. Clare. I am reading a book about St Monica right now, who is my patron saint. I have a fallen away from the church young adult in my household, and I find St Monica’s patience,prayer life, and good example,helpful to deal with my “Augustine’ child! I would like to read about St. Philomena and St.Jude Thaddeus next.

  16. My daughter’s name is Chiara – just like St Chiara di Assisi – and her birthday is very near St Chiara’s feast day (11 August). As a child, my Chiara fit her name – she was joyful, light, and sunny – but as she entered adolescence, she went through some very dark times and I wondered if she would ever be light and sunny again. Now, thanks to God and the prayers of many, she is coming out of those times, and as she journeys forward in healing, I would love for her to read and have this beautiful book about her patron saint, and to draw inspiration from it–especially as I pray for her to continue healing and to draw closer to God. [I’d love for both of us to read this book, actually: I just took a peek at the first pages on Amazon and I was immediately drawn into St Chiara’s world…especially when I read the title of the prologue: ‘Her name shall be “light”!’]

    As for which saint to learn about next, it’s hard to narrow done to one or two, because I truly am interested in all; any would be welcome! If pressed, I’d say St Monica (because I too have an ‘Augustine’ child), St Catherine of Siena, St Gemma, St Julian of Norwich, St Therese of Lisieux, St Gertrude (my daughter’s confirmation name/saint), St Hildegarde of Bingen…I think that’s enough for now. 🙂

  17. Came back to add — I haven’t stopped thinking about this book since you posted this. I would probably never have known about it otherwise, and it’s now on my wish list. I am looking forward to learning about other books, too. Thank you for bringing this book, and so much else, to my attention! 🙂

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