The daily life of a Poor Clare combines the joy and simplicity of the Franciscan call within the framework of a monastic contemplative community. The call is to intimacy with God and to prayerful support of all people. Pope John Paul II has said, “The life to which you are consecrated is a privileged form of love for God and humankind… .This life is witness that the value of the nun’s existence does not consist in what she accomplishes and materially achieves, but in what she is, in the relationship she has with the infinite, eternal Goodness: with the Lord Himself.” With this call of love as the beginning, the end, and the backdrop of her whole life, the Poor Clare goes about her tasks of praying, working, and recreating.
The celebration of the Eucharist is the focal point of the sisters’ day. Besides this great prayer of thanksgiving, the sisters also have the privilege of being deputed by the Church to pray the Canonical Hours in the Church’s name for the whole Mystical Body. These seven hours form some of the touchstones in the day that bring us into active awareness of the Lord as community. We awaken to our new day with Morning Prayer; the Office of Readings nourishes us with Scripture and spiritual reading. Three “little hours” grace the day before we come to the evening with Evening Prayer, followed by Night Prayer at the conclusion of the day. Time is also needed to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in Scripture and in our hearts. Two hours a day are specially set apart for private prayer, usually one hour in the morning and one hour close to evening. Some prefer to spend this time in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in Exposition, others in their cells, and others outdoors in communion with God in nature.
Praise of God is a major part of our life, and music and singing enrich the Poor Clare day. With St. Francis’ love of all things, we find ourselves using many types of music from a little Gregorian chant to the newest composers’ works – enjoying all of them!
St. Clare considered working a grace and taught her daughters through her example to work “so that in banishing idleness, the enemy of the soul, they do not extinguish the spirit of prayer and devotion, which all other temporal things must foster.” Our work is varied. We make and distribute altar breads (hosts), we do secretarial and correspondence work, artwork, sewing, cooking, some maintenance of the monastery and many other things.The Church continues to call us to grow in the knowledge and love of God. We have our own library with spiritual books and periodicals. These and some very good tapes, together with an occasional workshop, foster the growth in the Spirit which is our life.