St. Clare: fraternal friendship and evangelical simplicity

On Thursday, August 16, many religious communities and faithful joined the Poor Clares of Jerusalem to celebrate their patron saint. Representing the apostolic administrator, Mons.

William Shomali, the Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem, presided over the mass in the presence of the Deputy Consul General of France, Mrs. Minh-di Tang.

The convent’s gate was opened for prayer, and the Mother Superior greeted those who arrived. At the steps of the altar, a holy icon of St. Clare and a relic of the saint were lit up with a candle.

Mons. Shomali recalled the decisive impulse that the saint has brought to the spiritual renewal of the universal Church. Coming from a wealthy aristocratic family, she gave up nobility and wealth to live in humility and poverty, adopting St. Francis of Assisi’s way of life in the thirteenth century.

“Brothers and sisters, the love for Christ does not prevent human friendship, much the opposite,” began Mons. Shomali. In the beginning, Clare did not find in St. Francis only a master whose teachings she could follow but also a fraternal friend. When two souls inflamed by the same love for Christ come together, from this friendship comes a profound type of encouragement.”

In St. Damian’s convent, Clare practiced the virtues that should characterize every Christian: humility, piety, penance and charity. “I invite you to pray,” concluded Mons. Shomali, “so as to seek the intercession of St. Clare for all of the needs of the holy places, the Middle East, and especially for our brothers in Aleppo. We pray for Europe, which is living in fear, for refugees and for victims of violence everywhere. Do not forget to also pray for our community of Poor Clares, who are faithful to the Franciscan tradition of prayer and evangelical simplicity.”

At the end of mass, the congregation wished a happy birthday to the sisters in French, Arabic and Italian. In the courtyard, refreshments were served under the shady pine trees.

The friars from Nazareth were present also at mass, along with the Poor Clares from the city. And all of the Franciscans are united to the Poor Clares on this day in particular. Happy feast day to all of the Poor Clares in the Middle East and everywhere.

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