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

My Photo
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!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Poor Clare Colettines in Cleveland

A few years ago, the Catholic Church was trying to choose a patron saint of the internet and St. Clare was in the running…I suppose since the Seraphic Mother is the patron Saint of television, the Church didn’t think that she’d mind looking after the internet either. Although I believe that the Church ultimately chose a different Saint, I have no doubt that St. Clare has continued to guide me even as I randomly “surf” the web. After all, I randomly “discovered” the Japanese Poor Clares mentioned on my last post while surfing the net. Similarly, I just found out that there is a large Poor Clare Colettine monastery in Cleveland, OH….and I had no idea that one even existed! Even more, it is the oldest permanent Poor Clare Colettine monastery in the United States. I’d like to share with you their wonderful, very informative website:

The Cleveland Poor Clares’ homepage can be found here. If you really want to delve into the website, reserve about a half-hour to look at it because it is very extensive, but one of the most informative Poor Clare websites I’ve come across.

One feature that I particularly like is this chart of the Poor Clare Colettine monasteries in the United States. Visitors on the Barhamsville Poor Clares blog have been asking a lot of questions about the different P.C.C. monasteries in the U.S., so perhaps this should clear up some of the confusion.

The vocation section of the Cleveland Poor Clares’ website is outstanding in terms of the information that it provides. In particular, the photo-journey of a Poor Clare’s vocation is wonderful. Check out the beautiful photos of the postulant in her wedding gown during her simple-vows: wearing of a wedding gown during simple vows is a Poor Clare Colettine tradition! The nuns are very insightful by not stopping the photo-journey at the stage of full-professed….they realize that vocation is a life-long process that continues long after solemn profession.

Another section on here that other Poor Clare websites don’t have is information about extern sisters. Extern sisters, as the Cleveland Poor Clares explain, are the sisters who are not enclosed but make it easier that the enclosed sisters can carry out their vocation of prayer. As Mother Mary Francis explains in her book “A Right to be Merry,” extern sisters are living out their Poor Clare vocation just as much as their enclosed sisters are and they are a vital part of the monastery.

Also, be sure to take a look at the pictures of the building itself. If you are lucky enough to be within driving distance of the Cleveland Poor Clare monastery, try to stop by their public chapel- it looks absolutely gorgeous!

Pax et Bonum!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

+JMJ+ Pax et Bonum!

Dear gentle Chiara:

God's peace and goodness be with you! Thank you for this beautiful blog: I check it often.

One thing you & your readers might appreciate concerns the lovely column you wrote about the Cleveland Poor Clare-Colettine Nuns' website. In your loving invitation to your readers to "check out the beautiful photos of the postulant in her wedding gown during her simple-vows", your column mentions "wearing a wedding gown during simple vows is a Poor Clare Colettine tradition". But actually, while the wedding gown is indeed a most joyous & fitting Poor Clare tradition, it is worn by the postulant on the day she becomes a Novice, and not on the day, approximately 2 years later, when she makes her "Simple Vows" and thus becomes a "Junior-Professed Nun". So those beautiful photos on the Cleveland-PCC's website are actually of several different Postulants in their wedding gowns on the day each becomes a Novice: during which ceremony she at last discards her shoes in favor of bare feet for the rest of her Poor Clare life; bows her head as Mother Abbess cuts off the cascades of her long curls (yes, just as St. Francis cut St. Clare's hair all those years ago); and exchanges her earthly white wedding dress for the "forever"-wedding dress that is the simple, clay-coloured cruciform Poor Clare habit, girt about her waist as it is with the Franciscan white rope cord & a habit rosary hanging down the other side. (The "Franciscan Crown" rosary, to be exact!) After the modest white wimple & guimpe are placed around her head & neck, she receives the Novice's form of a forever-wedding veil: yes, the virginal white cotton Nun's veil, hanging well past her waist, that she'll wear for the next 2 years or so, until she can exchange it for the black veil of the Junior (& finally, of also the Solemnly) Professed Nuns.

Thank you for inviting us all to see these wonderful photos! May their witness draw many more souls to leave all else for Jesus when He invites them also to "Come!" follow Him into the Poor Clare-Colettine cloister: where they can at last give everything for the Pearl of Great Price.

Gratefully yours in Jesus & Mary,

-- a faithful reader

10:01 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

<< # St. Blog's Parish ? >>