France: No More Poor Clares in Paris

Source: FSSPX News


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The first monastery of the Poor Clares in Paris was founded in 1484 by Sister Nicole Jeffroy, upon the request of Anne de Beaujeu. This latter gave the foundress a monastery in which Saint Louis had settled “Beguines” in 1258. The Order was stripped of its possessions during the French Revolution and the nuns dispersed. The present monastery of the Poor Clares in Paris was founded in 1876 by the Monastery of the Poor Clares of Le Puy en Velay which was founded by St. Colette in 1432. On October 26, 1876, Mother Mary of the Assumption, vicar of the Convent in Le Puy, was appointed as Abbess of the new monastery and arrived in Paris with two nuns. The monastery resumed the title of the former Parisian convent of the Ave Maria, and was established in the Villa de Saxe in the 7th arrondissement.

Today, the Poor Clares of Paris explain, vocations are becoming more scarce, the number of Sisters is diminishing, our building [1,800 m2] - 5 storeys high from the refectory to the workshop - does not have a lift, which prevents us from running an hostel. And tomorrow, another exodus lies ahead of us: we are preparing our transfer to Senlis on premises that must be turned into a monastery.

The superior of the ten nuns confided to the daily Le Parisien: “There has been generation upon generation of Poor Clares in Paris… Now that we are about to move [in the summer of 2009], we are looking for a buyer. The ideal solution would be to sell to another congregation, but few have the means to buy such a building. For years, we have been receiving offers from developers. We have always refused, but now we will probably be forced to yield.”

The Order of the Poor Clares was founded by St. Clare (1193-1253) in 1212 at the request of Saint Francis of Assisi. Erected upon the model of the Friars minor, it is the Franciscan second order. The rule was approved by Pope Innocent IV in August 1253, shortly before the death of the foundress. Saint Colette (1381-1447) was later instrumental in the restoration of the Order in face of a decline in discipline of the Franciscan family. She was confirmed in her mission by Popes Benedict XIII and Martin V. She founded new monasteries, including the one in Le Puy. The  Order of the Poor Clares thus returned to the spirit of the original rule. (Sources: apic/Le Parisien/clarissesdeparis)