The Poor Clares are a cloistered, contemplative order, seeking union with God through a life of prayer and sacrifice, in the spirit of St. Clare, to whom St. Francis was mentor and guide.
No photos were taken. No children were restless. It's as if the serenity of the Poor Clares convent there upon a hill was a secret retreat. An hour and a half from our day that quickly brought joy and memories.
Our Little Flowers group decided to take a trip to the Poor Clares after learning about St. Clare and the virtue of JOY at our last meeting. Working ahead on our next meeting's virtue of GENEROSITY and our first meeting this year on MERCY, we knew that we could also bring along groceries for the Sisters and put into practice what we're learning as a group.
As it turned out, six of the girls from the group could make it, along with their moms. I also ended up bringing Jonah along and hoped I wouldn't regret it lest he become bored and antsy. You know, I think he enjoyed it just as much as the girls did! When we shared our stories with daddy in the evening, Jonah could rattle off many of the details of the Sisters lives as easily as Lily. I couldn't believe it. He sat still and listened intently.
The girls were wonderful and listened as well as asked excellent questions throughout. Of course, I was ready to jump right in there with them since I was utterly fascinated too!
From what I knew of the Sisters, I knew that they had three Sisters that were Externs (nuns who do not take the vow of Enclosure and therefore are free to take care of the external business matters for the monastery) and I assumed that we would be speaking to one of them. Instead, we walked into the Parlor and there, on the other side of the golden grill stood a beloved Sister in full habit. We actually got to spend our time with Sr. Barbara who is one of the Cloistered Sisters. What an honor! And there, as she stood and shared their daily lives with us, the peace and joy that she also radiated was beyond explainable. She was on that side and we were on this side. She lives a life of simple poverty, prayer and dedication as a bride of our Lord and while there she was on the other side, she also so beautifully shared the mystery of her life within the walls of their community.
There are so many things I'd like to write here and all that Sr. Barabara shared with us, but words couldn't even begin to express or explain them all.
Our visit left not only a memorable impression on myself, but also on my children. What a precious gift Sr. Barbara and the Poor Clares bestowed on us that day. Hopefully this will be a treasured memory that will stay in our hearts and we'll be able to make a return visit in the future.