Poor Clare Colettine Nuns of Cleveland, Ohio
First Permanent Foundation in the United States





 

The Poor Clare contemplative is not some spiritual aristocrat who has withdrawn herself from society in order to perfect and purify some ultra-human inclination or aptitude. She is a full and vibrant embodiment of the human condition.
 
She shares sympathetically in its fears and foibles; she knows of its longings and anxieties; she understands its joys; she participates in its sufferings. She is one with it in its awkward and often contradictory striving for meaning and wholeness. And it is to help give the huge wandering mass of humanity a sense of direction that she feels she has been called to live a life of solitude and penance.
 
She is aware of her call to serve – to serve the Lord directly and to serve the People of God indirectly. The Poor Clare lives her life in intimate union with the Church. By her consecration she becomes, as it were, an image of the Church – and of every church, a special dwelling place set apart.
 
In this solemn consecration, the Poor Clare receives innumerable graces which will enable her to assume the profound responsibility which becomes hers in solemn profession: to cooperate fully with the Church in the redemption of all men.
 
Her Spouse imparts to her the love and burning desire of His own heart, along with the interior strength and firmness of will which she will need in order to fruitfully and reverently receive the inspirations of the Holy Spirit and faithfully put them into action in her life.
 
“To be a bride means to be permitted to love. The Bride of Christ, the Church, did not love first; Christ loved her first. But now, in the power and glory, in the beauty and chastity of His love, she is, herself, the lover. She is love itself; she is Bride in Christ’s death. Christ reveals His innermost Being to her; He initiates her into love’s mystery. He opens her eyes to the love with which He yearns for her.” - Ludwig Munster
 
The Poor Clare knows that this incomprehensible call to brideship is a totally gratuitous gift of the Holy Spirit. She can respond, like the Church, only because God has first called her and in calling her has given her an inner disposition and will, enabling her to give herself in return. She realizes that God has first loved her, and it is by His love alone that she is able to answer in love.
 
“In Clare’s mind the ecclesial task for women as religious
is always dynamic; it is not a profession nor is it even an activity, but an active life in Christ for others. It is a matter of belonging exclusively to God in order thereby to make Him better and more clearly present in others and thereby to make Him increase in the Church.” - Heribert Roggen, O.F.M.