Colettine Poor Clares

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The Colettine Poor Clares are a reform branch of the Order of St. Clare, founded by Clare of Assisi in Italy in 1211. They follow the interpretation of the Rule of St. Clare established by Saint Colette in 1410, originally a French hermit and member of the Third Order of St. Francis.

Clare of Assisi Italian saint

Saint Clare of Assisi is an Italian saint and one of the first followers of Saint Francis of Assisi. She founded the Order of Poor Ladies, a monastic religious order for women in the Franciscan tradition, and wrote their Rule of Life, the first set of monastic guidelines known to have been written by a woman. Following her death, the order she founded was renamed in her honour as the Order of Saint Clare, commonly referred to today as the Poor Clares. Her feast day is on 11 August.

Hermit person who lives in seclusion from society

A hermit, or eremite, is a person who lives in seclusion from society, usually for religious reasons. Hermits are a part of several sections of Christianity, and the concept is found in other religions as well.



Colette was born in Corbie, a town in the Picardy region of France in January 1381 to an elderly couple. [1] She lost her parents in 1399 and, after a brief stint in a beguinage, in 1402 she received the religious habit of the Third Order of St. Francis and became a hermit, living in a hut near the parish church, under the spiritual direction of the abbot of the local Benedictine abbey.

Corbie Commune in Hauts-de-France, France

Corbie is a commune of the Somme department in Hauts-de-France in northern France.

Picardy Region of France

Picardy is a historical territory and a former administrative region of France. Since 1 January 2016, it has been part of the new region of Hauts-de-France. It is located in the northern part of France.

France Republic in Europe with several non-European regions

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.02 million. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

After four years of following this ascetic way of life, in 1406, Colette came to believe that she was being called to reform the Poor Clares, the Second Order of the Franciscan movement, and return that Order to its original Franciscan ideals of absolute poverty and austerity.


In October of that year, she traveled to Nice to seek the blessing of the Antipope Benedict XIII, who was recognized in France at that time as the rightful pope. Benedict received her and allowed her to take vows as a Poor Clare nun, giving her mission his blessing through several papal bulls, which authorized her both to reform existing monasteries and to found new ones according to her reform.

Nice Prefecture and commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Nice is the seventh most populous urban area in France and the capital of the Alpes-Maritimes département. The metropolitan area of Nice extends beyond the administrative city limits, with a population of about 1 million on an area of 721 km2 (278 sq mi). Located in the French Riviera, on the south east coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, at the foot of the Alps, Nice is the second-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast and the second-largest city in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region after Marseille. Nice is approximately 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) from the principality of Monaco and 30 kilometres (19 mi) from the French-Italian border. Nice's airport serves as a gateway to the region.

Antipope Benedict XIII

Pedro Martínez de Luna y Pérez de Gotor, known as el Papa Luna in Spanish and Pope Luna in English, was an Aragonese nobleman, who as Benedict XIII, is considered an antipope by the Catholic Church.

Nun Member of a religious community of women

A nun is a member of a religious community of women, typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in the enclosure of a monastery. Communities of nuns exist in numerous religious traditions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, and Taoism.

After spending several years in Beaune in the Duchy of Burgundy, under the guidance of the Blessed Henry of Beaume, O.F.M., (ca. 1367-1439) in 1410 they transferred to the County of Burgundy in 1408, where she established the first successful community of Poor Clare nuns under her inspired way of life in a semi-derelict monastery of the Order in Besançon.

Beaune Subprefecture and commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Beaune is the wine capital of Burgundy in the Côte d'Or department in eastern France. It is located between Paris and Geneva.

Duchy of Burgundy historic principality

The Duchy of Burgundy emerged in the 9th century as one of the successors of the ancient Kingdom of the Burgundians, which after its conquest in 532 had formed a constituent part of the Frankish Empire. Upon the 9th-century partitions, the French remnants of the Burgundian kingdom were reduced to a ducal rank by King Robert II of France in 1004. Robert II's son and heir, King Henry I of France, inherited the duchy but ceded it to his younger brother Robert in 1032. Other portions had passed to the Imperial Kingdom of Arles and the County of Burgundy (Franche-Comté).

Beatification recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person

Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name. Beati is the plural form, referring to those who have undergone the process of beatification.


From Besançon her reform spread to Auxonne (1412), to Amiens. It began to spread outside France with foundations in Heidelberg, Germany (1444), and from there to other communities of Poor Clares around Europe. In total, 18 monasteries were founded before her death in March 1447.

Auxonne Commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Auxonne (German:Assomen) is a French commune in the Côte-d'Or department in the Burgundy region of eastern France. The inhabitants of the commune are known as Auxonnais or Auxonnaises.

Amiens Prefecture and commune in Hauts-de-France, France

Amiens is a city and commune in northern France, 120 km (75 mi) north of Paris and 100 km (62 mi) south-west of Lille. It is the capital of the Somme department in Hauts-de-France. The city had a population of 136,105 according to the 2006 census, and one of the biggest university hospitals in France with a capacity of 1,200 beds. Amiens Cathedral, the tallest of the large, classic, Gothic churches of the 13th century and the largest in France of its kind, is a World Heritage Site. The author Jules Verne lived in Amiens from 1871 until his death in 1905, and served on the city council for 15 years.

Heidelberg Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Heidelberg ( HY-dəl-burg, German: [ˈhaɪdl̩bɛʁk] is a university town in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, situated on the river Neckar in south-west Germany. In the 2016 census, its population was 159,914, of which roughly a quarter consisted of students.

Colette established a reform community in Poligny in 1415, and from there another in Ghent in 1442. From Ghent, a Colettine community was established in Bruges in 1457. In 1857 Poor Clares from Bruges established a monastery at Notting Hill. In 1928, Bishop Francis Vaughan asked his cousin, Mother Felix Clare Vaughan, abbess of Notting Hill, to send sisters to his Welsh diocese, and the community of Ty Mam Duw was founded. [2]

For the monasteries which followed her reform, Colette prescribed extreme poverty, going barefoot, and the observance of perpetual fasting and abstinence. The Colettines follow their own Constitutions sanctioned in 1434 by the then-Minister General of the friars, William of Casale, and approved in 1448 by Pope Nicholas V, in 1458 by Pope Pius II, and in 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV.

The community includes both cloistered nuns and extern sisters.

Colettines in the United States

In Germany, the late 19th-century saw a major wave of suppressions of monastic institutions under the government policy of Kulturkampf . Among them was the Colettine monastery in Düsseldorf, whose members had been expelled from their home. They sought a place of refuge in the United States and sent requests to various dioceses around the country. The Bishop of Cleveland agreed to receive them into his diocese, and five nuns of the German community travelled there in 1877, establishing a small monastery in the city on Perry Street. They were the first monastery of the Order of St. Clare in North America.

In 1916 Bishop Peter James Muldoon, of Rockford, Illinois invited the sisters in Cleveland to establish a presence in his diocese. [3]

The Poor Clare Monastery of Our Lady of Mercy, in Belleville, Illinois, under the patronage of Our Lady of Guadalupe, was founded in June 1986 from the Poor Clare Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Roswell, New Mexico. [1]

Seven founding sisters arrived in Kokomo, Indiana in 1959, at the invitation of Most Rev. John J. Carberry, the bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana. [4]

Today there are also monasteries in California, Illinois and South Carolina. Foundations from the American monasteries have been established in Brazil (1950) and the Netherlands (1990). [5]


A branch of Franciscan friars following the spirit of Colette's reform was established and approved, under the leadership of Henry de Beaume. They were known as Coletans, and were connected to the monasteries of the Colettine nuns. By 1448, there were thirteen friaries of this branch. Along with other smaller reforms, they were merged by the Holy See into the Observant branch of the friars in 1517. [6]

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  1. 1 2 "St. Colette of Corbie" Our Lady of Mercy Monastery, Belleville, Illinois
  2. "Ty Mam Duw Poor Clare Colettine Community, Hawarden, Wales". Archived from the original on 2011-10-06. Retrieved 2011-12-01.
  3. Corpus Christi Monastery, Rockford, Illinois
  4. Monastery of Poor Clares, Kokomo, Indiana
  5. Colettine Monastery of the Blessed Sacrament, Cleveland, Ohio
  6. Notable Friars Minor

External sources