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raditionally enclosed Poor Clare
sisters from monasteries around
the world came together at St.
Bonaventure in early June to celebrate
the 800th anniversary of their founding.
Some 115 sisters from 32 monasteries
in the U.S., Canada, Guatemala,
Ireland and several other nations met
with one another to hear speakers and
celebrate their lives as Poor Clare sis-
ters, who live a contemplative life dedi-
cated to prayer.
"Because the Poor Clares
are enclosed, this event is
very historic," said Sr.
Suzanne Kush, C.S.S.F.,
director of the Franciscan
Center for Social Concern
at St. Bonaventure. "For
them to come and meet
with Clares from other
monasteries to be
enriched by speakers and
share their own experi-
ences of the movement
together in their life as
Clares becomes a very
special time."
The anniversary, usually
celebrated by the sisters
in their individual monasteries, com-
memorates Saint Clare's departure
from her home in Assisi, Italy, in 1212
to join the Franciscan movement,
begun by Saint Francis of Assisi.
As other women from Assisi joined Saint
Clare and the movement grew, she and
her followers became known as the
Poor Ladies and they formed the second
order of the Franciscan movement. Saint
Clare became an important figure in the
Catholic Church at that time, petitioning
the Vatican to sanction what became
the Rule of Saint Clare -- the first
accepted rule written by a woman --
which called for absolute poverty in
dedication to Christ.
An important hub of Franciscan schol-
arship, St. Bonaventure houses the
Franciscan Institute, which stands as
the pre-eminent center in North
America of teaching, research and pub-
lication on the history, spirituality and
intellectual life of the Franciscan move-
ment. The Franciscan Institute has had
the privilege of hosting many educa-
tional seminars for the Poor Clare nuns
thanks to a generous endowment cre-
ated by a former Poor Clares
monastery in Chicago.
Joining the Poor Clares in the celebra-
tion of their founding were friar repre-
sentatives from Holy Name,
Immaculate Conception and St. John
the Baptist provinces. Also present was
a Capuchin Friar from Denver, Colo.
Among the Franciscan speakers from
around the world who traveled to SBU
to mark the occasion were Sr. Maria
Chiara Stucchi, O.S.C., a member of
the Monastery of Poor Clares in
Cortona, Italy, who shared "The First
Moment of Franciscan Clare Life at San
Damiano," and Br. Bill Short, O.F.M.,
an expert on Franciscan history and
spirituality who is on the faculty at the
Franciscan School of Theology in
Berkeley, Calif., and gave the address
"The First Moment from the Friars'
Jean Molesky-Poz, Ph.D., and Br. Keith
Warner, O.F.M., from Santa Clara
University spoke on "Catching Light
and Going Forward Securely, Joyfully
and Swiftly" and "Creation,
Cosmology, Creation: Reweaving a
Franciscan Spirituality of the Earth,"
respectively, and SBU's own Br. F.
Edward Coughlin,
O.F.M., vice president for
the Franciscan Mission
and director of the
Franciscan Institute,
spoke on "Set As an
Example and Mirror for
Others: Reflections on
the Gift of Our `Sisters'
in the 21st Century."
A particularly moving
tribute to the Poor
Clares came in the form
of "Moon and Mirror,"
poetry and music writ-
ten specifically for the
anniversary by Fr. Murray
Bodo, O.F.M., and Sr.
Alice Ann O'Neill, S.C.
Fr. Murray read his poetry, accompa-
nied by Sr. Alice Ann's scores on the
The university was proud to host such
a historic tribute to one of its patron
saints, and the Poor Clares' presence
deepened St. Bonaventure's connec-
tions to the universal Franciscan family
in all of its branches.

Franciscan Minute
Poor Clare Sisters gather together at SBU from
around the world to commemorate 800-year history
As more than 100 Poor Clares visited St. Bonaventure to commemorate the
800th anniversary of their order's founding, they were joined by their broth-
er friars for the celebration. The Poor Clares' celebration carried the theme
"Growing Together in the Unity of Mutual Love."