A new sister receives the habit of St Clare in the Poor Clares,
On the Feast of Pentecost, we celebrated, not only the gifts of the Holy Spirit to the Church and to each of us individually, but in a special way in our community, we were thrilled that our postulant Marie, received the habit (which is the distinctive dress of our Order and which signifies consecration to the Lord in the way of St Clare).
This is a private ceremony, with only the immediate Community present. In this ceremony, we recall when St Clare left home to follow St Francis, as his first female follower. This happened on the night of Palm Sunday in 1212, just over eight hundred years ago. On that fateful night, St Francis cut the beautiful blonde hair of Clare, and she was clothed with the rough sackcloth dress, which was the habit of the Franciscan Order. In our community, we have always retained the ritual of the cutting of hair as part of the ceremony. And so as part of the Vigil of the Feast of Pentecost, Marie took a significant step on the journey to committing herself to the Poor Clare way of life. Symbolising the beginning of a new life in the Lord, Marie received a new name, the name of a saint who will be a special patron to her in her new life. She is now known, Sr. Brigid Marie of the Sacred Heart,.
The ceremony was very moving. It is always touching to witness the generous self-offering, as a person gives themselves over to the Lord in love. A particularly poignant part of this ceremony, was when her hair was cut, symbolising her consecration to God, in imitation of the way St Francis cut St Clare’s hair. But it was even more stirring to witness Marie’s palpable joy during the ceremony and of course, it was infectious.
During the course of the ceremony (on the vigil of Pentecost) Mother Abbess, Sr Colette encouraged Marie and reminded all the sisters of the inspiring the words of St Clare** in regard to their calling:
May you go forward,
Securely, joyfully, and swiftly,
On the path of prudent happiness,
Agreeing with nothing
That would dissuade you from this commitment
We pray for all those discerning our way of life, in particular one of whom is with us at the moment for a live-in experience and who was delighted to be with us for the ceremony.
We invite you to join with us in a spirit of thanksgiving to God for this gift of her life, offered to the praise of God.
The Poor Clare Community,