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Gender Issues in the Works of Francis and Clare

            Gender issues have lingered throughout world history and have played a significant role in the development of our society. The common issue between males and females has been about subordination "specifically, the act of subordinating women. Other common issues that rise among the sexes include: sexism at work, home, and church; domestic violence; hierarchy; education levels; segregation; and assumption of roles. Women have been put in situations where their thoughts and contributions were not valued the same as those from men. Also, women assumed a submissive role, in general, in the early development of society. These pertinent facts serve especially well for describing the status quo during European medieval times. It is imperative to note that this was very true even in the Catholic Church. Those canonized by the Church as being saints are not exempt from these historical occurrences. The lives of St. Francis and St. Clare demonstrate how these gender issues were played out during European medieval times. This paper will serve to explain how gender issues exist in religion, church hierarchy, segregation, and assumption of roles through the life experiences of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare of Assisi.
             First, I will examine how gender issues occur in religion through the works of Francis and Clare. The first and most obvious example exists in the common acclamations of God being the Father "a male "and creating man' in His' likeness: "Be conscious, O man, of the wondrous state in which the Lord God has placed you, for He created you and formed you to the image of His beloved Son according to the body- (Francis, 29). Although Francis was citing Genesis 1:26, he lived in a time where the bible was regarding as being the actual word of God. [Whether or not the bible is a paraphrase or precise historical report of the origins of the Christian religion is not a question that will be answered here.

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