A joyfully Franciscan view of Catholic life, inspired by St. Clare (Santa Chiara) of Assisi!

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Location: Virginia, United States

Chiara Offreduccio (St. Clare) was born in 1194. It is said that when her mother had Chiara in her womb, an angel appeared to her and said, "your child will be a light that will illuminate the world!" Hence, her mother named the child Chiara, which means "light. As G.K. Chesterton put it, St. Clare was a romantic figure just like Juliet was. However, instead of running away from her family in order to be with an earthly man, Clare gave up everything and ran away from her family for the love of her Savior!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Tying the Knot Poor Clare Style

The "wedding" of St. Clare

Since I'm a Senior this year, of course alot of girls around me are engaged (yep, even at Notre Dame!). Anyone who talks to me about the subject of weddings immediately draws out of me this fact: If I eventually get married, I will donate my wedding gown to the nearest Poor Clare Colletines monastery for their postulants to use at their investiture. Yes, that's right....when Poor Clare postulants profess their first vows, they wear wedding dresses before cutting their hair and changing into their habits. Why do they do this? Because it's what St. Clare did....on March 19th (my birthday!) 1212, she ran away to St. Francis at the Portiuncola at St. Mary of the Angels Church in Assisi decked out in wedding regalia. Since then, it's been a long standing tradition for Poor Clare Colletines to do the same...just short of having to run away from their Dads' houses! Mother Mary Francis of the PCC monastery in Roswell, New Mexico has some nice thoughts on the subject:

"A monastic investiture ceremony, when a young girl is formally engaged to a Lover who is the most beautiful of the sons of man, contains the essence of romance...Now it was Kathy's (the postulant) investiture day, and when the community gathered at the foot of the dormitory stairs that morning, it was no familiar black skirted figure whom Mother led down to us, but a Princess."

I believe the only other Order who does this is the Carmelites. Can someone correct me if I'm wrong?

Anyway, in Right to be Merry, the comprehensive book on the life of the Poor Clares Colletines, Mother Mary Francis says that they welcome earthly brides' donation of their wedding gowns. Immediately after reading this, I vowed to myself that when I am married, I will be sure to do this!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where did you ever find that lovely picture on this thread? I would love to find a print for my daughter.

Very nice blog, good luck with your searching for your vocational direction!

12:07 AM  
Anonymous TheresaMF said...

The Dominican nuns at the Monastery of St. Jude don't wear a wedding gown at their investiture. Their habit, they said, is their wedding dress which they wear every day!

Such beautiful symbolism either way. :)

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Renata :) said...

At least in Germany, the Discalced Carmelites do not wear wedding gowns at their investiture - they wear their own civil clothes as they did during the postulancy and receive the habit during mass.


7:46 AM  
Blogger Pennycake said...

Ooh what a wonderful idea! I shall do that too if I don't become a nun! =)

The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles also dress in wedding finery =D

Happy feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe!

11:46 PM  

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