QUEZON City, Aug. 11, 2015—Reminding them the Dark Ages are long over, the head of the Order of Friars Minor (OFM) in the country has dared Franciscan nuns, better known as Poor Clares, to be “experts in communion,” and to strive to “live the present with passion” amid a fast-changing world.
“We are no longer living in the medieval times. In these modern times, when people are communicating less and less with one another even if they have all the modern communication gadgets, you, like the other religious, are challenged to be ‘experts in communion’,” says Fray Cielito Almazan, Minister Provincial of San Pedro Bautista Province in a statement Tuesday, Aug. 11, the feast of their foundress, St. Clare of Assisi.
The friar continues, “Since you live together in the same community all the days of your life, you can do much better in this respect, even if you are not high tech.”
Almazan goes on to invite Clare’s spiritual daughters to show passion when they communicate with one another, doing it “face to face, eye to eye, and heart to heart,” without hurry, noting they just move within the confines of their monastery.
“Your relationship is that of flesh and blood, very human, not digitalized,” he stresses.
St. Clare’s example
Quoting Pope Francis, Almazan calls on the nuns and other Franciscans to thank God for giving them an example of how to live faith in the person of Clare of Assisi, whose feast the Order in particular and the Catholic Church in general celebrate today.
Like other consecrated groups, the Franciscan chief told Poor Clares to look to the past with gratitude, and to appreciate how God had led St. Clare to espouse poverty.
“It is a great privilege and mission to live with the other nuns to pursue Clare’s dream,” he says.
Moreover, Almazan points out Franciscan nuns are called to “embrace the future with hope,” shunning a monastic life lived in sadness and hopelessness.
“It is true that not very few young girls are entering the convent and many more and more nuns are becoming old and dying. But according to Pope Francis you should not be carried away by [these] kind of statistics,” he explains.
“You have to continue hoping believing that the Holy Spirit can still do great things with you. What matters is not numbers but quality, the way you live your vocation. You continue being faithful and joyful in your state of life in the community against all odds,” he adds.
Born Chiara Offreduccio on July 16, 1194 to a rich family in Assisi, Italy, Clare was among the first to follow St. Francis. Inspired by her mentor, she founded the congregation of women that now bears her name, and wrote its Rule of Life.
She died on Aug. 11, 1253, and was raised to the altar on Sept. 26, 1255 by Pope Alexander IV. Among others, St. Clare is hailed as the patroness of television. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)