The Poor Clares in North America

Author: Poor Clares

The Poor Clares in North America

Early Beginnings

Shortly after the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the New World, Poor Clares began to arrive to establish their monasteries. Communities from France, Belgium, and England failed in attempts to establish permanent foundations. It was only in the last half of the 1800's, however, that the Poor Clares would be firmly established in North America.

Poor Clares of the Primitive Observance

Pope Pius IX commissioned two nuns from the Monastery of San Lorenzo in Rome to establish a community according to the Primitive Rule of St. Clare in the United States. In October of 1875, Sr. Mary Magdalen and Sr. Constance Bentivoglio sailed to the New World and began their adventure in America, seeking to establish themselves as Poor Clares. Several Bishops refused to let them establish in their dioceses, stating that their strict lifestyle was not compatible with the spirit of the country.

After establishing a house in New Orleans, LA, the sisters were obliged to relocate to Cleveland, OH. Several German Colletines, exiled by the Kulterkampf, joined them in Cleveland, but the union was short-lived. The Italian sisters then moved to Omaha, NE and established there the first monastery of the Primative Observance in the United States. From there, twenty-two monastery have sprung up in the United States and western Canada, forming today two Federations: Mother Bentivoglio Federation and Holy Name Federation.

Poor Clares of the Colettine Reform

The Poor Clare Coletitne Nuns in Holland were forced into exile by the German Kulterkampf. In 1877 they were invited by the Franciscan Provincial, Fr. Yanknecht, OFM, to join Mother Magdalen's sisters in Cleveland, OH. Five sisters arrived in Cleveland in December of 1877, but language and cultural difficults made union difficult. Mother Magdalen eventually moved her sisters, leaving the Colettine Poor Clares in Cleveland with Mother Veronica von Elmendorff as the first abbess. Most of the subsequent monasteries of the Colettine Reform comprise the Federation of Mary Immaculate.

Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration

Founded in France in 1854 as a Third Order cloistered community, the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration eventually affiliated with the Second Order Poor Clares. In 1921 a small group of these sisters set out from Austria for the United States, and began a monastery in Cleveland, OH. They now number five monasteries: Cleveland, OH, Canton, OH, Portsmith, OH, Washington, DC, and Birmingham, AL.

Las Hermanas Cubanas

After experiencing persecution at the hands of the Castro revolutionaries in Havana, Cuba, members of an ancient Urbanist monastery were forced to flee to the United States, and found a home with the Poor Clares in New Orleans, LA. Later, those Cuban sisters, along with some from the New Orleans community, established a monastery in Brenham, TX and have adopted the Primitive Observance and are members of the Mother Bentivoglio Federation. This community raises miniature horses to support themselves.

Capuchin Poor Clares

The Capuchin Poor Clares are the latest arrivals of Poor Clares to the United States, coming from Mexico, and blessed with abundant vocations from that country. They now have three communities: Amarillo, TX, Denver, CO., and Wilmington, DE.

Other Poor Clare Communities

To complete the picture of Poor Clare life in the United States, mention must be made of the Byzantine Poor Clares in North Royalton, OH and the Anglican Poor Clares of Mt. Sinai, NY.

From communities in North American, missionary Poor Clares have established foundation in Japan, Bolivia, Brazil, Korea, Guatemala and Holland.

Taken from homepage of the Poor Clares

Adddress of the Roswell Colettine Poor Clares:

Poor Clare Nuns Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe 809 E. 19th Street Roswell, NM 88201 USA Phone: (505) 622-0868