Monday, March 19, 2012


Yesterday, Laetare Sunday, was also the  celebration at Waverley in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs of the 800th Anniversary of the entry of the great Saint Clare into Religious Life and with that, the founding of the Poor Clares.The photo above shows the early arrivals for the Commemorative Mass at the  great Franciscan Church of Mary Immaculate. high on the ridge running South from near the South side of the harbour and down to the southern beaches.

The story of Saint Clare is a remarkable one even in glorious Italy, whose history is so wonderfully illumined by the lives of Saints, from a Jewish Fisherman crucified upside down (St.Peter) and a Jewish tentmaker beheaded ( he was a Roman Citizen - St.Paul) in Rome, and so on in their hundreds  of holy lives.

At only 18 years of age this beautiful young noblewoman, even the a very holy and exemplary person, forsook the glamorous life of ease her station offered her, and, inspired by the saintly example of her acquaintance the marvellous young nobleman we know as Saint Francis of Assisi,she vowed the remainder of her life in poverty to the service of God and His Church.And that end was achieved with great difficulty, struggling against those making efforts to frustrate the foundational rule of poverty which she had adopted in accord with Saint Francis' example.

The Altar Rails of our Wedding Day are gone, The High Altar is obscured partially by the N.O.Altar and no one seems to be able to stop ladies draping things to excess, but it s still a beautiful church.
And Glory Be To God after years of wandering, the TABERNACLE is back where
it and Our Divine Lord belong - the centre of  attention.

The Poor Clares in Australia were founded out of Poor Clares houses in Ireland in two separate events. They have a very honoured record in education and in the enclosed contemplative life also.The church rapidly filled to celebrate the great event and the nuns , except for those too ill to be present, were still in good numbers. Nevertheless, one could hardly fail to note that they were all of a certain age, hardly any under 50/60 years - the ravages of the Post- Conciliar vocations drought all too apparent.

We are left to wonder how far things have gone wrong for the work of 800 years of dedication to God to be at risk of not continuing long, because of our recent times.

My wife was educated by the Poor Clares at Waverley St. Clare's College, which explains our presence yesterday. Sadly, the College will soon be handed over to the Archdiocese of Sydney - the Sisters no longer able to manage it.
Above the Sanctuary
As it happens my wife and I were married in this same great church some 42 years ago, it is a place of very happy memories.

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