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, January 25, 2007

Poor Clare Nuns in Japan

I’ve been re-reading In This House of Brede, one of my favorite books of all time. In the book, several Japanese postulants enter an English Abbey of Benedictine nuns and after their solemn profession they form a foundation Abbey over in Japan.

Fittingly enough, I found a website for a monastery of Poor Clares over in Japan. This abbey of fifteen nuns is a foundation of a Poor Clare monastery in Boston. Incidentally, I came across their website accidentally….I was actually trying to look for the website of the Poor Clares in Alexandria, VA but came across the Japanese Poor Clares’ website instead!

A very talented web publisher who actually has never met these Japanese Poor Clares put together this lovely website. Included in this website is a letter written by the foundress of the community, Sr. Mary Pius. Sr. Pius speaks about the challenges and joys involved with moving to a culture not traditionally associated with the Poor Clares. However, she describes how many elements of Japanese culture seem ready-made for acceptance of the Poor Clare way of life. Please look at the letter here, accompanied by some beautiful pictures!

Another beautiful part of the website is a series of Japanese prints depicting life in the Poor Clare monastery in Japan. Unfortunately, I do not understand Japanese so I cannot provide any further commentary on the prints. However, the love and effort with which these prints were obviously created transcend the language barriers. Here are the first series of prints, and here are the second. If any friends of ‘Canticle of Chiara’ can translate these lovely prints, please enlighten us!

If you’re ever having a bad day and need a little ‘pick-me-up,’ visiting the Japanese Poor Clares’ website and seeing the joyful smiles on their faces (especially in this hilarious picture) is the next-best-thing to actually going to Japan and visiting them!


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