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

 



 


 





 



The call of any contemplative is a call to be another Abraham wandering through time seeking the promised land. The contemplative has been called to go forth out of her father’s house into the land “which God will show her.”
 
Like her great model and patriarch, her only staff is faith – a faith that relies completely on God and the words of His representatives.
 
With a courage no less remarkable than Abraham’s she must be ready to sacrifice all in order to heed the summons of God and find for herself and her brothers and sisters the fulfillment of the Kingdom.

The contemplative needs the disciplines of silence and detachment. Enclosure fosters a deep identification of the contemplative with the vital needs and hopes of the People of God.

“In solitude, where they are devoted to prayer, contemplatives are never forgetful of their brothers…if they have withdrawn from frequent contact with their fellowmen, it is not because they were seeking their own comfort, or peace and quiet for their own sake, but because on the contrary, they were intent on sharing to a more universal degree the fatigues, misery and hopes of all mankind.”- Pope Paul VI
 
While exterior solitude is important, there is another type of solitude even more imperative for the cultivation of prayer: interior solitude, ascesis of heart.

The heart of the contemplative resonates with the longing of Elisha, the prophet, who cried out to Elijah his father as he was carried into heaven, 'Oh, that I may inherit a share of your Spirit.' Something deep within her has seen the fiery chariot of Israel.
 
She has felt the nearness of His Goodness; she has glimpsed His shadow as He passed by, and nothing now remains for her both to pursue her God and to clasp what she can of Him to herself.
 
Like Elisha, she must remain behind as His Image fades from view; she must bear the pain of being left to walk the earth alone.
 
And yet, she is not alone. She has become a part of the Presence which she has perceived.
 
It is an encounter prepared for and sustained by the faithful imitation of Christ and the unreserved acceptance of His Word.

The contemplative Poor Clare understands that every word in the Gospel, every encounter of Jesus with the people of the Gospels, is meant to be a personal revelation and encounter with her deepest self.
 
It is in this interior solitude that contemplative prayer flourishes, much like the barren desolations which Scripture tells us have become “verdant pastures” when God visited them.