Last night's Creedon's Cities on RTE1 featured the Poor Clare sisters from Nuns' Island, Galway. The Poor Clares are an enclosed contemplative religious community, which means that as well as the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, they take a fourth vow of enclosure. This means that the Poor Clare sisters rarely leave the monastery. Does this mean that they are cut off from the world?? On the contrary, by withdrawing from the world, they have the time and vocation to carry the whole world in their hearts to God in prayer.
The Poor Clares rely on God's providence to take care of them, but because it is good to work, they also make, pack and distribute altar breads for the Diocese. This is particularly appropriate because their day is structured around the Mass, Eucharistic adoration and the Liturgy of the Hours, in other words, around prayer, which is their most important 'work'. The Poor Clares are women who have dedicated their lives to God by following the Rule of St. Clare. Yet, in doing so they have not lost their own individual personalities. Each vocation story is different as each person is unique. Some of the sisters' vocation stories are available here.
It may seem strange to see the Poor Clares on television, but did you know that St. Clare is the patron saint of television? One Christmas Eve, St. Clare was so sick that she could not leave her bed to attend Mass. The Lord granted her a miraculous vision to participate in and see the Mass from her sick bed. Pope Pius XII declared St. Clare the patron saint of television in 1958 because he recognised her interior, penetrating vision. The full interview with John Creedon is available here. More images from the programme are available on the Franciscan website here.
This year the Poor Clares are celebrating the 800th anniversary of the foundation of their order. In 1212, St. Clare, then called Clare Offreduccio, left her home on Palm Sunday to join St. Francis and his followers. The Feast of St. Clare is August 11th 2012. To read more about St. Clare, click here.
To visit the Poor Clares' website in Galway: www.poorclares.ie or to visit their facebook page click here. The facebook page is managed externally for the sisters.
Lorraine will be visiting the Poor Clare sisters in August, so watch this space and our podcast page for an interview with the sisters!