The Capuchin Poor Clare nuns of St. Veronica Giuliani Monastery in Wilmington, DE, are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. On December, 12, 1986, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, ten sisters left their beloved Mexico and came to a foreign land to be prayerful support to the Capuchin friars in their service to the poor. When they arrived in Philadelphia, a group of Capuchin Franciscans were awaiting them at the airport holding a large image of the Blessed Virgin of Tepeyac Hill, a heartwarming sign that Our Lady of Guadalupe was still with them in this new mission.
The sisters make the habits for the Capuchin Brothers as well as liturgical vestments and altar linens. They assist the Brothers by preparing meals for an emergency shelter for women with children.
The Capuchin Poor Clares were founded in by Ven. Maria Laurentia Longo in the 16thC. St. Veronica Giuliani, mystic and Capuchin Poor Clare, is their famous saint.
The sisters are blessed to have three young vocations, raising the number of nuns to twelve. They pray every day that the Lord will bring many more vocations “so they can join us in giving God adoration and glory through a life of prayer!”
On November 23, 2013, the Capuchin Poor Clares of Wilmington, DE, as well as family and friends had the joy of witnessing Sr. Veronica de Jesus Amaya’s First Religious Profession. Sr. Veronica’s reception of the black veil, which replaced her white one, symbolized her total consecration to Jesus Christ and her death from the world.
Posted on the internet a day later, was the recording of the death of Sr. Maria Imelda Valencia, OSC Cap., a sister in the same monastery who died on November 4 at age 81.
Sr. Imelda entered the Capuchin Poor Clares in Mexico at the young age of thirteen and learned how to make hosts, sew vestments, play the organ, cook for the community and do laundry. Sr. Leticia writes that, 800 years after St. Clare:
Maria Imelda followed the dream of Clare to live her life totally and exclusively for God. She wanted to embrace in her arms the God made flesh, and wanted His crucified body to be comforted by her friendship and love. In her prayer, she was more in touch with humanity than most of us. God let her hear the cry of the poor and the suffering. They became loud in her silence. Their pain became real for her. Jesus was continuing His Passion in the sufferings of humanity, especially the least among us. She comforted Jesus in His sorrow by raising up to the Father all those who needed grace in their lives.
Sr. Maria Imelda thought she would live and die in her convent in Mexico. But when volunteers were asked in 1986 to travel to America to begin a new foundation near the Capuchin friars, Sister Maria Imelda, at age 54 was one of eight sisters to embark on the journey. As Sr. Leticia writes:
Sr. Imelda never had the facility to learn English; nevertheless, she found an incredible joy and peace in her new home in Delaware. As St. Augustine says, “In His will is our peace”. Can you imagine never understanding a word the preacher is saying, or participating in a conversation, always needing a translator? What sacrifice! But for Sr. Imelda, it was just another way of dying to herself so that Christ will rise.
May she rest in the peace of her Spouse whom she longed to see.
Most people are familiar with the Poor Clares, the contemplative Order of nuns founded by St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare but did you know that there are four branches on the family tree? The Poor Clares, the Poor Clare Colettines, the Capuchin Poor Clares and the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration.
Perhaps the most famous Poor Clare of today is Mother Angelica, PCPA, who founded the Eternal Word Television Network. This is very appropriate for St. Clare is the patron saint of TV.
The least known of the Poor Clares, at least in this country, are the Capuchin Poor Clares. They were founded by Venerable Maria Laurentia Longo in Naples, Italy in 1538, a few decades after the founding of the Capuchin Franciscans. Both groups were founded in an attempt to return to a more primitive way of Franciscan life. The most famous Capuchins Friars of recent vintage are Padre Pio and Sean Cardinal O’Malley of Boston.
The Capuchin Poor Clares are fairly new to the US, their first monastery being established in 1981 in Amarillo, Texas. There are now 4 additional monasteries in the US: Wilimington, DE; Alamo, TX; Denver and Pueblo, CO. If anyone is near Wilmington on August 10, please join them at 11:00 for a special Eucharistic Celebration in honor of St. Clare. You can support these wonderful sisters by buying their Clarisas butter cookies, made from scratch, in small batches, using nothing but the finest ingredients!
You know, I am sure, that the kingdom of heaven is promised and given by the Lord only to the poor: for he who loves temporal things loses the fruit of love. Such a person cannot serve God and Mammon, for either the one is loved and the other is hated, or the one is served and the other despised. St. Clare of Assisi