Thursday, August 9, 2012
I have friends in Duncan who are celebrating an unusual anniversary, the 100th anniversary of their order of contemplative nuns, the Sisters of St. Clare (or Poor Clares) on Vancouver Island. It's also the 800th anniversary of the order itself...that's a lot of anniversaries!
The Poor Clares have been a part of my life for the last 19 years (and I consider that worth celebrating too!), ever since they called and asked if I would do a story on another event they planned. I accepted that challenge (a first for me to meet monastic nuns) with the proviso that I'd like to come and spend time with them and learn about their lives....do a "day in the life of" story on nuns in Canada in the 20th Century.
Little did I know that would be the start of a relationship that has impacted my life ever since...a friendship with a group of witty, funny, thoughtful, and perceptive women who happen to centre their lives on prayer and contemplation, but also feel a deep connection with the rest of the world, and hold us all in their prayers. In fact, you can make prayer requests now via email or on their website, by the way). http://poorclares.ca/ Never say these women aren't up to date!
I find when I'm amongst the Sisters as a visitor in their sunny parlour, I feel a sense of comfort and ease I rarely find elsewhere. The commitment the women have made by choosing the monastic life is not an easy one, yet when you feel the sense of joy they emanate, you can begin to understand their decision.. The Sisters have become cherished friends (something I never expected to happen), and I envy their clarity of purpose and admire their devotion to the spiritual life. Their most recent member of the group is Monique, a delightful woman of 43 who chose this life after losing her husband to illness..in fact, he helped her choose this monastery! Monique says that while the life she has chosen is difficult, "she's never been happier." She feels this is the "fit" she had longed for, and somehow, when you see her, you can sense that starting from her smile..
The Sisters will celebrate publicly on Saturday, August 11 at a Eucharistic Celebration at 10 a.m. at St. Andrew's Cathedarl, 740 View Street, Victoria, with a reception following at St. Patrick's Parish Hall. You can bet I'll be there.
(For more on the Sisters and the friendship we share, go also to the Times-Colonist's Spiritually Speaking blog at http://blogs.timescolonist.com/category/life/spiritually-speaking/