Poor Clares of New Orleans
The Poor Clare Monastery in New Orleans was established by Mother Magdalen Bentivoglio in 1885. Our first abbess was Mother Mary Frances Moran, who had been received as a postulant when Mother Magdalen had first come to New Orleans in 1877. The present monastery was built in 1912.
During the early 1960's, our monastery became a refuge for the Poor Clares of Havana, Cuba, who had to flee their home during the terrors of the Castro regime. Seven of the Cuban Poor Clares are buried in our mortuary chapel. We were able to provide a temporary home for the other sisters until they established their own monastery in Corpus Christi, Texas.
The Poor Clares have remained a constant presence of prayer for the people of New Orleans, leaving the city only after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. We were given refuge by the same Cuban sisters, who had now moved to Brenham, Texas. After 40 days of exile, we were able to move back to our beloved city of New Orleans.
For two years after Katrina, we provided shelter for religious of different communities who were trying to rebuild their convents, schools, and ministries that had been destroyed by the hurricane. It was a blessing for us to be able to serve our sisters in this way.
Today our community consists of seven members, including three sisters in nursing facilities. We continue to pray for the needs of our city, our Church, and our world.