The Poor Clare sisters in Nuns’ Island recently celebrated 375 years in Galway. The occasion was marked by a Mass on Monday, the 30th of January, celebrated by the Franciscan Provincial Fr. Hugh Mc Kenna OFM. Concelebrating the Mass with him were members of the Galway Franciscan Fraternity. 

The Galway Poor Clares is the longest surviving community of religious women in Ireland and lived through many periods of religious and political unrest.  The sisters arrived in January 1642 after a number of Galway citizens petitioned the Franciscan Provincial at the time to arrange for a Poor Clare Community to come to Galway. The founding document of the Galway monastery, signed on the 30th of January 1642, is still in the possession of the community.

“We had a very big celebration in 1992 to mark our 350 years in Galway so we decided to keep this occasion in a lower key. At the same time 375 years is a long time and it is good to pause and give thanks to God for all His blessings” said Sr. Paul, the Mother Abbess. “ It was lovely to celebrate with our local friars in the spirit of Francis and Clare”

To those who can’t “see the point” in the way of life of the Poor Clares, Fr. Hugh quoted Pope Francis who recently said that the world needs contemplative nuns “every bit as much as a sailor on the high seas needs a beacon to guide him to a safe haven”

Earlier in the day, the sisters had the joy of receiving a new novice, Sr. Clare-Marie.  Her first encounter with the Community was through a Monastic experience day.  These days are designed to help  young women who are discerning religious life,  to take a first step in exploring the Poor Clare way of life.