Charism & Spirituality
Our Capuchin Poor Clare Order professes the Rule of St. Clare which is to live the holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ by practicing obedience, poverty, and chastity. Each one of these is lived after the spirit and teaching of St. Clare and according to the ideals that came from the reform of our Mother Maria Lorenza Longo. These reforms are the following: a life of absolute poverty without any dowry or possessions, austerity in that life, being secluded from the world by a strict cloister, simplicity in fraternal life but an intense life of prayer both during the day and night.
St. Clare was a faithful soul; everything she promised the Lord she lived until the end of her life. She was obedient to the Church and to St. Francis. She lived poverty from the beginning of her commitment to the Lord until her death, obtaining for us the “Privilege of Poverty.”
For a Capuchin Poor Clare, obedience is charitable obedience. Through it she takes part in the loving submission and obedience of Christ to the Father. By this charity and obedience which makes us truly free and through which we come together in His name, we place ourselves at the service of one another by foregoing our own will so that docile to the Holy Spirit and in fraternal dialogue we join our efforts together to discern and carry out the will of God. It is through such service and mutual obedience that we gain the spirit of charity.
Our founders, St. Francis and St. Clare, followed our Lord Jesus Christ and His most holy Mother by having nothing of their own under heaven. We have been called to follow their footsteps and live this poverty, looking at Christ Jesus our Savior. He was poor while lying in the manger, poor while living in the world, and poor while naked on the cross. This becomes our fundamental mission: to serve the Lord in poverty and humility, without anything of our own, an absolute poverty with sure means for living. We are poor in material means, but have the power to become rich in virtue. Because Our Lord Jesus Christ and the most holy Mother Mary are our only riches, we form a new family of sisters whose father is heavenly and whose mother is Mary. Our poverty is inspired by the Gospel and is supported by a firm faith in the providence of our Heavenly Father who has His eyes fixed on those who have left all for Him.
After the example of St. Clare, our model of perfect chastity, we have chosen voluntarily to live in chastity for the love of Christ and for the Kingdom of Heaven. Chastity frees our hearts and prepares us to love God undividedly as the first commandment describes it: ‘To love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength” (8). Through this untold gift of grace, chastity consecrated to God never reduces in us the capacity to love but frees the heart for a love that is deep, liberated, unconditional and universal.
Our Life and Mission in the Church
We become partners of the mystery of the Church. “United to the Church we are as a banner, a beacon of light for those in the Church and for those outside of her who seek salvation.” We participate in the Church’s virginal and spiritual fertility. To enrich her with the fruits of sanctity as St. Clare indicated in her third letter to St. Agnes, “I consider you a collaborator of the same God and a support for the wavering members of her body.” We take part in her life, sanctity and salvific mission: We make ours the needs of the Church both universal and local, above all through the personal and communal prayer of divine praise through the recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours and the active participation in the Eucharist. Being called to be a very clear sign of the Church, we profess adherence and reverence to the Roman Pontiff, active obedience to all the bishops and honor to all priests because they administer to us spirit and life.
After the example of Christ who first lived a hidden life at Nazareth and who later retreated to the desert and frequently looked for solitary places to pray, we have freely accepted this separation from the world, “to lead an enclosed life physically so that we can dedicate ourselves to the Lord with a free spirit.”
Jesus, our Lord, spent many hours in intimate prayer with His heavenly Father. Through a special call to the contemplative life and after the example of St. Francis and St. Clare who neither desired nor waited for anything under heaven except for God alone, we are called to live totally devoted to God, living in solitude and silence, in regular union with God in prayer and in a life of generous penance to direct our spirit and life to God in a consistent manner. This form of consecration to God and His Kingdom prepares us for the eternal contemplation which is the common calling of all the redeemed.
The mission of Christ, the first born of all the brothers (Rom 8:29) consists of gathering together all people in the family of God and leading them to unity and communion with the Father. A religious community is the expression of the industrious effort of the entire Christian community to bring about unity so that the world might believe (Jn 17:21). Fraternity is the heart of the charism of the Capuchin Poor Clares. God granted St. Francis and St. Clare brothers and sisters and this was, for them, a clear sign that God called them to live evangelical perfection. As a contemplative community, we are essentially a praying community. Our unifying force comes from prayer and especially the Eucharistic table. Having been called together by the Lord to live this holly unity through charity and as a new family which has been joined together in the name of Jesus, our religious community becomes a sign to the whole world of that perfect love which reigns in heaven.
Work is a grace from God and is a state which is inseparable from our life of poverty and humility. This is the ordinary and most fitting way of obtaining what is necessary for life. At the same time, it is an expression of fraternal service. In addition, it offers us the possibility of practicing charity outside of the monastery.
If you’re interested in learning more about our Capuchin Poor Clare way of life, please contact us to set up a visit to one of our monasteries. It is quite difficult to understand the beauty of a cloistered contemplative life without a first-