The Franciscan Friars Minor were already present in Acquapendente, during the life of the Seraphic Father St. Francis, who according to history, when he passed through these parts, left here his confreres, in a poor convent near the river Paglia, until 1255 when they were granted the Church called S. Maria del Borgo, to which was later added the title of St. Francis. The church still exists today. In the convent annexed to the Church, since the beginning, according to Tossignano and other historians, illustrious religious men and masters of eloquence flourished. Among them, Father Tommaso of Acquapendente, Minister Provincial of the Roman Province and Apostolic Penitentiary under the Pontificate of Pope John XXII, stands out. The presence of the tertiaries also appears from the beginning, alongside the religious.
It was the Provincial Father, Father Tommaso of Acquapendente, who with the help of the population built the Monastery of St. Clare in the year 1333. This Monastery is also remembered by historians such as Blaeu and De Rossi. For the construction of the Monastery was chosen the hill just above Porta Fiorentina, called “La Cittadella”, or even “il Poggio del Massaro”, where in the past stood the ancient fortress. The deed of concession to the Nuns is dated 6th June 1333 and is signed by Giovanni di S. Teodoro, Cardinal Legate of S.S. Giovanni XXII.
The first community of Poor Clares was formed by nuns from the Monasteries of Orvieto and Bagnoregio, to which the local aspirants were added. By a Brief of 23 December 1562, Pope Pius IV put the Monastery of Saint Claire under the authority and protection of Cardinal Sforza, Camerlengo of Holy Roman Chrurch.
In 1810 Napoleon Bonaparte sent the Nuns away, usurping the Monastery and the Church, plundering and ravaging the property. The altarpiece was stolen at that time and the archive of the Monastery was burned. The nuns officially returned to the Monastery in 1815, but in reality it is known that they never abandoned it, managing to live as seculars within the Sacred Walls. We can therefore rightly speak of the uninterrupted presence of the Poor Clares for almost 7 centuries now.
The present monastic community, after more than 40 years of aridity, is at the beginning of a flourishing of vocations in recent years, with God’s blessing, under the maternal gaze of the Immaculate.