22 Sep 2012

23rd September 2012 - Interview with the Poor Clare Sisters in Galway

On this weeks programme we have an extended interview with Sr Colette who is the abbess of St Clares Monastery in Galway City and she chats to Lorraine about St. Clare, their way of life and how it expresses itself in the 21st century, our relationship with God and turning to him in prayer in the poverty of our necessity.

This weeks podcast is available HERE.

Back in July Creedon's Cities on RTE1 featured the Poor Clare sisters from Nuns' Island, Galway which we covered here. 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.

Lorraine and Sr Colette discuss who St Clare was, and how this year is the 800th anniversary of St Clare leaving home to follow St Francis of Assisi in 1212. St. Clare, then called Clare Offreduccio, left her home on Palm Sunday to join St. Francis and his followers. To read more about St. Clare, click here

Francis and Clare had a radical view of poverty inspired by St Paul's letter to the Philippians "though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human form" and they sought to imitate Jesus' extreme poverty of love by entering into the messiness of human history in time and space. This poverty particularly expressed in three particular ways the Crib, the Cross and the Eucharist. The powerlessness of Jesus expressed in this way which appealed to Francis and Clare. It was a joyful penance to allow them to live their lives.

It is still a source of inspiration to the Franciscan wider family and how it is to be discerned and applied in a rapidly changing world in the 21st century which poses it own practical challenges.

Sr Colette also explains the vows of Poverty, Chastity, Obedience and Enclosure and how they are also interlinked with the love of poverty as expressed and understood by Francis and Clare. She examines the meanings of the vows and how liberating they can be when freely entered into. 

Sr Colette tells us the story of the history of the Poor Clares on Nun's Island in Galway which they have had a connection with since 1642. Details of their history and travails can be read here.

She also shares her own vocation story and what attracted her to life and how she took the "scenic route" before entering the enclosure as well as her advice to people and especially women who are discerning their vocation in life.

If anyone wants to write to the sisters for prayers or as part of discernment:

Poor Clare Monastery
Nuns Island

For native Irish speakers, the website is www.clairinibochta.ie
For English speaking visitors the website is here.

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