Although our ministry of prayer takes place within the walls of the monastery, there are many ways in which we support our local community.
For the past 100 years, a fraternity of Secular Franciscans has been meeting monthly at St. Clare Monastery. Their gathering begins with prayer in our monastery chapel and continues with formation in Franciscan spirituality and agape fellowship in the basement.These lay men and women are an integral part of our Franciscan family, as they strive to live the Gospel values of St. Francis in the world.
For most of our community life in New Orleans, we have been able to serve the poor who come to our door. As Jesus said, "Whatever you do for the least of my brothers and sisters, you do for me."
However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to stop offering sandwiches to the poor in our neighborhood. We now give snacks through the generosity of friends and refer the poor to other agencies that provide food and services. We pray for our beloved "least brothers and sisters."
During the past few years, the sisters have been taking part in Christian-Muslim dialogue. We hosted a showing of the film "Francis and the Sultan," which attracted Christians of different denominations, Muslims, and Jews. We also offered a Christian-Muslim dialogue on Mary, in which Sr. Rita and a local Muslim woman discussed the role of the Blessed Mother as she is portrayed in the Bible and in the Koran. The event filled our chapel with over 75 participants, and was featured in our diocesan newspaper, the Clarion Herald.