About Us

The Order of St. Clare form one of the great Contemplative Orders in the Church. They are also called the "Second Order" of the Franciscan Family because they were founded by St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi eight centuries ago. They are also known as "Poor Clares" stressing the simplicity of their life and their complete abandonment to God's care.

The Poor Clares are throughout the world today and they live in monasteries where they aim a total union with God in continuous prayer. In order to reach this union they have to sacrifice much of what other people enjoy. They renounce unnecessary comforts; they fast though avoiding dangerous excess and except for medical care and obvious needs they do not go out of their monastery. They do not go home but their relatives and friends may sometimes visit them but they do continue to share their joys and sorrows as they pray for them.

Their life is inspired by the Gospel of Jesus. While other congregations follow Jesus in teaching and in healing or spreading the Good News in preaching, the Poor Clares, with God's help, continue Jesus' life of prayer on the mountain and of complete union with the Father.

The Holy Eucharist is the center of their monastic day. They pray the Liturgy of the Hours and have adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Though the life of prayer takes most of the sisters' time, they are not always on their knees. Prayer has many different forms: there is praise offered in the name of all creation, often accompanied by songs and silent meditation; pray alone for long periods of time and unite themselves to Christ's offering of Himself and to His prayer on the cross.

In each monastery God is worshipped according to the culture of the place where they are situated. The Church proclaims that the contemplative life is "universally apostolic". That means that through their prayer and sacrificial self-giving the sisters reach all kinds of pain, doubt, sickness or distress and bring them to God's mercy. This is the way they serve God's people. The sisters must burn with that same missionary spirit which drove St. Francis and St. Clare. As the Blessed Father Francis said: "He has send you into the entire world for this reason, that in word and deed you may give witness to His voice and bring everyone to know that there is no one who is all powerful except Him." And the Holy Mother Clare said: "I consider you a co-worker of God Himself, and a support of the weak members of His ineffable Body" (Const. Art. 162). The sisters are also ready to share the little they have with the poor and they receive guests for periods of prayer.

The sisters have their own labors in the cloister. They work in the garden, they cook, do the cleaning, they sew and do embroidery, do artwork, type and study. They work in silence with a song in their hearts because they know God is there with them. Mother St. Clare said: "The sisters to whom the Lord has given the grace of working are to work faithfully and devotedly, and must do this in such a way that, while they banish idleness, they do not extinguish the spirit of holy prayer and devotion" (RICI VII).
The sisters get together each day for a short time for family recreation, both as a chance for needed relaxation and a way of expressing sisterly love. They tell stories, exchange news and ideas, sing and play. Solemnities and feasts give a special character to their joy especially Christmas, Easter and Solemn Feasts of the Seraphic Founders - Sts. Francis and Clare.

During the years of formation they are trained to find all their strength, their happiness, their complete fulfillment in deep relationship with God and in progressive discovery of his love. They are helped to live their religious life faithfully and to build a community where sincere affection grows in mutual trust and forgiveness as well as in complete sharing of spiritual and material resources.

There are twenty-three (23) monasteries of Poor Clares in the Philippines. Each has its own Novitiate where they receive vocations. A young woman who wants to join the Contemplative Sisters should have a great desire to develop a life of prayer and union with God. She must also understand the value of complete self-giving in union with Christ for the salvation of souls. She should be in good health (physical, mental, emotional, and psychological). Eventually, she will know if God calls her to "love totally the One who gave Himself totally for her love" (St. Clare) and to live a life of deep prayer and joyful penance, in solitude and silence but in a loving community, occupied with God alone but urged on by love for the whole people of God (Vat. II) as the Church herself defines contemplative life.

The Poor Clares of Aritao

The Poor Clare Sisters of Aritao is an autonomous, enclosed contemplative community of women living the Gospel Life according to the Rule of St. Clare of Assisi.

The community can trace its roots back through the Venerable Mother Geronima dela Asuncion, who brought the Poor Clares to the Philippines in 1621 from Spain, and on back to the community of St. Clare at San Damiano establised in 1212.

The Aritao Poor Clares was founded on March 18, 1999. It is a Federation Foundation and the founding group comes from the different Federated Poor Clare Monasteries. They responded to the urgent request of the Bishop of the Diocese of Bayombong to established the Poor Clare Contemplative presence in his Diocese.
Our form of life is to observe the Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ by living in obedience, without anything of one’s own and in chastity.

We live in enclosure, fraternal communion (sisterhood), absolute poverty, prayer, penance and contemplation.



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