The Poor Clares are living in Graiguecullen, Carlow for over 100 years. 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, in chastity and in enclosure.
In the late 1800's the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Dr. Foley made his first visit to the Vatican in Rome. Pope Leo XIII enquired if there was a contemplative order in his diocese. The Bishop replied there was a community of enclosed Poor Clares, but they were not properly established yet. "Establish them and be good to them" said the Holy Father.
Throughout the years the generosity of our kind neighbours, friends and benefactors has been unbounded. Day and night, as we keep vigil in turn before our Divine Lord’s Sacramental Presence, we praise and thank Him for all the wonderful people, known and unknown, near and far away, past and present, who have been and are the instruments of His overflowing generosity to us. For the needs of all we intercede continuously before Him because the fatigues, misery, joys and hopes of the children of our common Father, in their personal and family lives, are ours too. This is our vocation in the church; " to be co-workers with God himself ", as St. Clare expressed it.
Prayer is central to our lives. Prayer is not just one other activity of our day. There are certainly set times for prayer, but the overflow carries into every other moment of our lives, making all our day a prayer. It is like the golden thread running through the design of an exquisite piece of embroidery; it unifies the whole to create a work of art called contemplative life. And it is God's work of art, not ours. Pope John XXIII said, " It is the apostolate which is the most universal and the most fruitful ". Saint Clare knew it well.
Each of us also spends time during the day or night in private prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. We pray for young people in schools and colleges and those deciding their future. We pray for the sick, you at home or in hospital, the lonely, the poor and all those isolated by an age which rushes aimlessly in the search of wealth and a passing security. We bring before our Lord the agonies of the sick who cannot afford to be sick, the young mother who's sickness has no cure, the children who cower in the face of violence and abuse, for the Lord is a faithful companion who never ignores the heartfelt petitions of his people. This is the very faith that inspired Saint Clare. These prayers are our calling.
In our monastic community everybody is important from the oldest to the youngest and physical exercise is also very much emphasised for health and recreation. Some sisters love looking after the plants in the garden. Others prefer the indoors,
Several Sisters answer letters throughout the day. At certain times it is possible to speak to the Sisters in the reception rooms. People constantly say how much it helps to have somebody to tell their troubles to and know they are being remembered in prayer.
All christians have a vocation in life. Some people God calls through marriage, others as single people. There is the same mystery about religious life as there is about falling in love. It is something in our hearts that we cannot explain. The realisation of this call will come at different times of life and in different ways. If you think you may be drawn towards Religious Life , it is at least worth exploring. Think about it, pray about it, we are here to help you in any way we can, whatever your journey. It is a very good bargain to leave the things of time in favour of those of eternity. (Saint Clare).
We invite you to learn more about the Carlow Poor Clares on our own website www.poorclarescarlow.ie.