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Most High, all powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, and the honour, and all blessing,
To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no human is worthy to mention Your name.

Praised be You, my Lord, with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day and through whom You give us light,
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour;
and bears a likeness to You, Most High One.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
in heaven You formed them clear and precious and beautiful.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather,
through whom You give sustenance to Your creatures.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste...

Canticle of the Creatures by St. Francis


We couldn’t possibly cover here all the questions that people ask about our life, but we have tried to respond to some of the more frequent ones.

Isn’t it a waste of your life?

Many people are puzzled by the idea of young women “wasting” their lives in a monastery when they could be doing something that might seem more useful like voluntary work for some good cause, or raising a family. But we are convinced that we can reach out and help many more people and situations by our prayer, than by anything else we could do even if the gifts or talents that God has given us might seem more suited to other ways of life.

What does “enclosure” mean?

St. Clare embraced an enclosed way of life for herself and for her sisters. In practice this means that we only very rarely leave the monastery. Family and friends can visit and we correspond with letters. The deeper meaning of enclosure is to create an atmosphere of prayer and silence where we strive to be attentive to God’s presence and encounter His love. In this way we combine solitude and togetherness in the warmth of the Franciscan family spirit. Enclosure symbolises that sacred space in the heart of every human being where only God can dwell.

What do you do all day?

Our day is centred on the Mass and Eucharistic Adoration, which is at the heart of our vocation. The community prays the Divine Office together seven times during the day. Again at midnight we rise to pray together and spend time in Adoration. This prayer is our most important “work”, around which our day revolves.

Since our form of life is, as St. Clare says, “to observe forever the Holy Gospel,” the reading of the Bible is vital in coming into a deeper relationship with the Lord. Devotion to Our Lady has always been part of the Poor Clare way of life and we give expression to this when we pray the Rosary together every day, whether in the garden or in the Chapel.

A daily radio news bulletin can be listened to, which keeps us informed on current events, so that we can keep them in our prayers. We regularly have talks and study sessions on topics relevant to our way of life. St. Clare saw work as a gift from God and called it a grace. Each Sister shares in the work and upkeep of the monastery and garden, the focus being not on achieving results or on the importance of the work, but on the love with which it is done. We have opportunities to enjoy our hobbies and each evening we take time to come together to relax and enjoy each other’s company in a family spirit. For St. Clare community life was essential for building up an atmosphere of love. We consider it one of our greatest blessings.

How do you support yourselves?

Altar bread production is our main means of support, as well as depending on our generous benefactors, whose goodness we see as always stemming from Divine Providence.

Why did you choose this radical way of living?

The path of every Sister to our Community has been unique and we have different reasons for joining, but we have each experienced the totally undeserved gift of God’s love for us and we desire a deeper relationship with Him. So we commit our lives to Jesus in celibate love and we pray that all the people and situations we hold in our hearts will also experience His healing love.
“And may that love within our hearts set fire to others with its flame.”
(from the hymn for Tierce)

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Aren’t you escaping from the harsh realities of life?

We haven’t turned our backs on the world and its troubles, even if the opposite may appear to be the case. We believe that our prayers reach the deepest recesses of human suffering and draw down God’s grace.

Our withdrawal from the activities of the world is not a flight from the reality of suffering and the struggles of life but a place of encounter with them. Many people write to the monastery to share their problems and ask for prayers. As we struggle with our own difficulties in the light of God’s love, we feel a deep solidarity with them, believing that God can transform the most desperate situations.

It has been incredible to discover a deep inner freedom that lies in facing the reality of who we are - warts and all - and embracing every part of ourselves in the midst of a loving community. This can be hard but liberating as we continue to find an inner peace and joy that does not come from what we own, being in control, gaining approval, or following the latest trends. In appreciating and accepting the beauty and giftedness as well as the weakness and brokenness in ourselves and in each other we see the transforming power of God’s infinite and unconditional love in our lives.

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