Chiara Center is one of the healing ministries of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis. All who are part of the Chiara Center ministry are committed to the spirit of St. Clare of Assisi who most clearly understood and embraced the gospel vision of St. Francis and cast a transparent healing light throughout the world.
We dedicate ourselves to revealing Christ’s healing presence by offering hospitality to those seeking peace; providing the environment, experiences and resources for contemplative living; promoting the Franciscan values of peace, reconciliation and justice; forming leaders in the ministry of healing; and developing programs and services to promote a healing spirituality.
In a spirit of joy we engage our mission holistically, ecumenically and collaboratively with reverence and compassion.
The Chiara Center logo is set in a circular motif representing wholeness. Light and dark reflect the rhythms of life opening one to God's compassion, healing, and peace. The Tau cross, an ancient Biblical symbol embraced by St. Francis of Assisi, invites one to gaze, consider, contempate and enter the Mystery.
The Chiara Center Cookie
Visitors to Chiara Center receive a signature Franciscan almond cookie. The cookie recipe, created by the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, celebrates a long-standing tradition in the Franciscan story.
The story of Franciscans and almond cookies begins with Jacoba of Settesoli, a young widow, who chose to be a follower of St. Francis soon after she heard him preach. She developed maternal feelings toward him and expressed her appreciation by baking him almond honey pastries.
Years later, as Francis’ body grew frail, she showed her friendship by sewing softer garments for him than he usually allowed himself to wear.
Although she lived miles away, her intuition told her that Francis was dying. So she made him burial clothes, his favorite almond cookies, and a silk kerchief to wipe his face as he lay dying. She was the only woman present at his death. Years later, she was shown great respect in her own death as she was buried near Francis and his earliest followers in the lower church of the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy.
Religious historians also found that St. Clare of Assisi (Chiara in Italian) also enjoyed food made with almonds. In tribute to her, Jacoba, and the other followers of Francis, there continues to be many bakeries in Assisi today which sell these almond pastries.