Clares Convent: For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)
Must be granted by permission of the nuns.
Dress extremely simply and remain quiet as to not interrupt the continual prayers.
Donations welcome to offset the vow of complete poverty.
The Clares Convent is in the center of Nazareth, next to Paulus VI (Main Street). It is surrounded by extremely high walls, protecting the cloistered sisters from the outside world; though, the courtyard provides a nice view of the city. Poor Clares are an order of nuns who are dedicated to meditation, a simple life and joy. It is a simply adorned, smaller convent, as the founder Saint Clare felt community, joy and simplicity were easier to achieve in smaller communities. So, when a Clares Convent gets too large, they start a new one somewhere else.
Saint Clare, the cofoundress of the Clares Convent and the Poor Clares Order of Nuns, was born at Assisi in 1124. A young Saint Clare, 18, sought out Saint Francis of Assisi to assist her in her longing to live a life of mediation. Saint Francis was not the only one who saw something special in Saint Clare. One Palm Sunday Clare attended Mass at the church in San Damiano, Assisi, but when the others congregants went forward to the altar-rail to receive a palm branch, she remained in her place as if lost in a daydream. Everyone looked at Clare as the bishop descended from the sanctuary and placed the palm in her hand.
That was the last time the world saw Clare. She secretly left her father’s house, following Saint Francis’s advice and, accompanied by her aunt Bianca and another companion went to a simple chapel, where Saint Francis and his disciples met her. Clare then laid aside her rich dress (she was the daughter of a wealthy count), and Saint Francis cut off her hair. Saint Clare then put on a rough tunic and a thick veil. On this day, March 20, 1212, Clare devoted the rest of her life to service and prayer to Jesus.
In this way, the nuns of Clares Convent devote themselves to prayer, scripture reading and work that doesn’t take away from meditation (gardening, making altar beads and vestments). They feel, as did Saint Clare, that they are coworkers with God, emptying themselves in prayer as Jesus did. Her first followers were her mother, aunt and her sister Agnes. Through the years, the Clares Convent has fought for the right to not own ANYTHING, not even in common. What the sisters have, they beg, borrow or make.
The Saint Clares Convent was started in Nazareth in 1884. However, the convent was used as a prison for Turkish and German captives when the nuns were taken captive and deported to Malta during World War I.
Charles Foucauld was a French man who worked for the Clares Convent as a handyman. He lived in a small shed, which is no longer on the property. On his journey through the Holy Land to imitate the private, devotional life of Jesus, Foucauld was led to Nazareth and eventually to be the gardener and handyman for these Poor Clares Convent sisters. He continued to pass through until settling as a hermit in the Sahara desert.