Minute Meditations

Life in Community

women holding flowers | Photo by Sam McNamara on Unsplash

Living with a large number of women who are not kin is its own call to penance. While the major impression of the San Damiano community is one of concord, joyful obedience, and humility, the opposite vices were not unknown. Clare writes that the sisters must beware of “pride, vainglory, envy, avarice, care and anxiety about this world, detraction and murmuring, dissension and division” (Rule 10:6 [19]). This is a sobering litany of faults capable of destroying a community from inside. What experiences showed her the need for such an admonition? What reports from other monasteries might have confirmed the need for that warning? We should not imagine the forty years in San Damiano to have been devoid of such suffering. These were real flesh and blood women… Yet Clare exhibited an inner joy in all circumstances. This demeanor added to the awe of her companions and became part of their endless admiration. This “peace surpassing understanding” drew them daily into her orbit of sisterly solidarity.

— from the book Light of Assisi: The Story of Saint Clare 
by Margaret Carney, OSF

Light of Assisi: The Story of Saint Clare Minute Meditations


1 thought on “Life in Community”

  1. Mike Reininger

    The alternative to living in a monastery or convent/cloister was living an ordinary life of getting married and having the responsibilities of being a parent. In other words, you were destined to be poor one way or the other. You were doomed. But did those then and now have more freedom by living in a monastery or convent? And how much freedom do married folk have? Everyone needs to pray, regardless of one’s circumstances. It’s just that some pray more than others. It’s been said that work is a type of prayer. And freedom? Yeah, good question. Freedom to do what? To pray more? To work less? To sleep? To travel? To where? What for? To spend more time on hobbies? Maybe we’re only truly free when we die.

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