Annual Mass Celebrates St. Clare, Cloistered Life
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
August 17, 2017

ROCKFORD—It was a morning to “celebrate, to learn from, and to appreciate” all that St. Clare brought to the world, said Bishop David Malloy who celebrated the saint’s feast day with Mass at the Poor Clares monastery chapel on Aug. 11.

Noting that St. Clare died that day “764 years ago,” the bishop said that she was not lost to them, but “rather we gain someone whose place and influence and prayers even more” provide benefits now that she is in heaven.

Clare is the patron saint, he said, of eye disease, goldsmiths, laundry and television.

Her fruit, he added, “comes down even to Rockford.”

The 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima was acknowledged in the Mass program and the bishop’s homily.

Mary’s call for prayers, particularly for the conversion of sinners, Bishop Malloy said, was a call fulfilled by Clare from her youth.

Clare’s daughters, the Poor Clares, he said, follow Clare’s example of much silence, seclusion, prayer, reparation and fasting.

“The sisters’ prayers obtain graces for us that we cannot know,” he said, pointing also to their example as a reminder that “we are called to holiness.”

After thanking and congratulating the sisters, Bishop Malloy said, “We know we, the church and the whole world are better ... because of the prayers you offer.”

The bishop then blessed baskets of the Poor Clare’s bread. The tradition is rooted in the life of St. Clare and a visit from Pope Gregory IX. The pope that day commanded St. Clare to bless the bread and water meal, “and at once the Sign of the Cross appeared on the loaves,” the flyer explained.

Members of the Knights of Columbus distributed the individually-wrapped, bun-sized loaves at the doors, including the door leading back to the visiting parlor.

The Poor Clares visited first with Bishop Malloy, then with others who patiently filled the hallway to enjoy a few moments with the nuns through a grate. Visitors enjoyed a snack from a tableful of treats after meeting with the Poor Clares.

Bishop Malloy and the nuns commenced in some garden talk. One sister reported a “knee deep” pond in their garden following the rains of the past week.

“Whose knees?” asked the bishop looking from sister to sister, whose heights range from shorter to quite tall.

As they burst into laughter, the nuns reported on the convent dog’s forays into the wet garden, happily returning to the convent in messy, muddy splendor.

The sisters also provided the bishop with his own loaf of St. Clare’s bread, which he had already blessed “for the welfare of soul and body for all partaking of it and a protection against all disease and all insidious attacks of enemies.”