Central to Saint Clare and Saint Francis vision of life in Community is the joy-filled poverty of the gospel. For Poor Clares, this means communal poverty as well as individual. Throughout her life, Saint Clare struggled to maintain this ideal in the life of her sisters. She was granted the 'Privilege of Poverty' in 1216 by the Pope, which meant the privilege of living without property, but the Sisters were only really free to live their ideal of poverty when the Rule Saint Clare had written herself was approved by the Pope just days before her death in 1253.

Ariel view of monastery
Our Monastery Gardens

In her Rule Saint Clare emphasises poverty, but always it is poverty for the love of God "Who was placed poor in the crib, lived poor in the world, and remained naked on the cross" (Testament of Saint Clare). She emphasised this in very practical ways. "Always wear inexpensive garments out of love of the most holy and beloved Child, who was wrapped in such poor little swaddling clothes and laid in a manger" (Rule of Saint Clare II).

Poor Clare communities are made up of women of widely differing ages, characters and backgrounds, brought together for love of God. In her Rule Saint Clare emphasises the importance of fraternal love, "if a mother loves and nurtures her child according to the flesh, how much the more ought a sister to love and nourish her sister according to the Spirit" (Rule VIII). She provided for consultation with the whole Community in important matters, "for the Lord frequently reveals what is best to the least among us" (Rule IV), and for the care of the sick, "Everyone is bound to serve and provide for their sisters who are ill just as they would wish to be served themselves if they were suffering from any illness." (Rule VIII).

Today we continue trying to live out the vision of Saint Clare and Saint Francis by living a life of poverty, in community, for love of God.