“Gaze upon Him, Reflect on Him, Contemplate Him, And Desire to Imitate Him.” – St. Clare of Assisi
St. Clare was a Founder of the order that came to be known as the Poor Clares, Mystic, Contemplative and the first woman to join St. Francis’ order. Clare’s charism was to live the Holy Gospel of our Lord, Jesus Christ. That is the first line of her Rule, the rule of the Friars, and, also, the rule of the Third Order (including the Secular Franciscan Order). For Clare, living the Gospel was the source of her energy; a driving force that compelled her to action.
St. Clare taught her followers to stay close to the Son of God , who is the Way, the Life, and our model. Poverty was the pearl of the Gospel for Clare. She loved Christ in the “Crib (Incarnation), in the Cross (Passion and Death) and in the Eucharist.” Clare expected the practice of contemplation to change a person’s way of acting. Prayer was her daily bread: “Never let the thought of Him leave your mind.” There is always a creative tension in Franciscans in achieving a balance of a profound prayer life with the needs of God’s people.
Today, St. Clare’s wisdom continues to inspire, guide and challenge 800 years after her death. As Secular Franciscans, we seek to fulfill our Mission in the spirit of Francis and Clare by:
Living a simple lifestyle, so that our prayer is grounded in an encounter with the poor suffering Christ in today’s world.
Sharing our contemplative life with others, journeying with them and engaging, empowering and collaborating with them in mission.
Addressing the root causes of injustice and speaking out as a voice for the voiceless.
Let the Secular Franciscans seek a proper spirit of detachment from temporal goods by simplifying their own material needs. Let them be mindful that according to the gospel they are stewards of the goods received for the benefit of God's children. From the Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order
Sr. Madeline Fitzgerald, OSC, is a Poor Clare Sister and the Spiritual Assistant for the San Luis Rey Fraternity of the Secular Franciscans. For nearly 15 years, Sr. Madeline has shared her deep and abiding love of Francis and Clare with our Secular Franciscan community.