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