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!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

"Heaven on Earth": Monastery of the Visitation, Mont Deux Coeurs

Alright, so I promised that I would only post on the Seraphic Mother, since we're leading up to her Feast Day, but I just had to tell you about this monastery that I found:

The Sisters of the Visitation Monastery of Mont Deux Coeurs is located in western Massachussets, and from looking on their web site, it seems like a beautiful and very traditional community of nuns who are on fire with love for our lord. For those of you who haven't heard of the Visitation Sisters, they are the order who have a special devotion to the Sacred Heart. You've heard me talk about Frank Parater, and he developed his strong devotion to the Sacred Heart because of his contact with the Visitation Sisters who lived near his childhood home.

Anyhow, please check out their web site here.

The thing that I really liked on their web site was a section called "News from the Novitiate," which features Sr. Bernadette Therese's reflections on life in the monastery. I honestly couldn't stop reading her wonderful "Heaven on Earth Column"- indeed, her presentation of monastery life seems to be highly realistic and honest:

"I do feel it’s important to know that it is a difficult life and there is no denying it, but the beauty, the love, the joy that is experienced in the living of a contemplative vocation is unmatched any where else on earth. I think I must have said this before, but it bears repeating, especially if someone out there (you?) is resisting the call. The truth of a religious vocation can only be tested in the reality of living it, and the living of a religious vocation can only be lived if one is truly called. I was surprised to learn from one more knowledgeable than I, that just because someone really wants to be nun (or priest, brother) does not necessarily mean that one has a vocation. And the converse can be true, as well."

I reccomend that everyone, whether or not you are pursuing a contemplative vocation, give it a read- it provides deep insights for laypersons and consecrated religious alike. Once again, the link can be found here.

If you wish to contact the sisters for general information, e-mail them here. For prayer requests, e-mail the Sisters here.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Chiara Countdown: "Illuminating All the World"

I'm so sorry for not posting in ages.....I've been busy moving to my new "cloister" here in CT.

Since the joyous feast day of St. Clare is less than a month away, I'm going to start the "Chiara Countdown" by making posts all about Clare until Aug. 11!

The following excerpt is taken from the monumental book A Right To Be Merry, written by the well-known Poor Clare Colletine poet and author Mother Mary Francis.....

"St. Clare is a true mirror of Mary. She built no hospitals, made no political pronouncements, inaugurated no new systems of pedagogy, and wrote no books. In the world's eyes, she just did nothing at all. But who was she? Holy Church decleares that she was and is a light more shining than light itself. The Church delights to frolic with her name: Clare, light. The Office of her feast is shot through with the beams of that light which she was. And when the last speech had been made and the last atom shattered, St. Clare will still be a "bright light illuminating all the world."

She was a citadel of silence, and that is why she answers a crying need of our time. We have forgotten how to be silent: we have grown araid. Yet nothing truly great or enduring was ever yet or will ever be achieved without silence. "While all things were in quiet silence, thy almighty Word, O God, leaped down from Heaven." In the singing silences of eternity that Word was begotten in the bosom of the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeded as their mutual love ablazed with silence." - Mother Mary Francis, A Right to be Merry

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Publicity for "Chiara": Thank You, St. Benedict Church!

So my "Canticle" is finally being sung once again! I am so sorry about the dearth of pictures for the past week or so....the web-site on which the pictures are stored was seemingly having some indigestion.

As I prepare to leave Virginia, there have been many bittersweet goodbyes- including my last visit to St. Benedict Church in Richmond today. The pastor, Fr. James Kauffmann, had seen my blog post on St. Benedict's from a couple of weeks ago and gave me a very kind e-mail thanking me for my praise of his parish. Now Fr. Kauffmann knew me by face for the past year and a half, since I came to daily mass each day when I lived in Richmond last summer. However, he never realized that I was Chiara, the person who runs this blog. Thus, I decided to reveal my secret identity to him this morning before mass. The surprise went both ways- not only was he surprised to realize that I'm the elusive "Chiara," but I was bowled over when he opened up the church announcer to show me that he had reprinted my post for the entire parish to see!

So....I'd like to thank Fr. Kauffmann and all of the wonderful, welcoming parishioners at St. Benedict for being such amazing supporters of this blog! I will miss all of you when I move up North!

More to come in the week ahead....because after this Friday, you won't hear from me for at least several weeks on account of the start of my new job.

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