By Sarah Mac Donald - 14 August, 2019
Bishop Denis Nulty of Kildare & Leighlin has paid tribute to the Poor Clare community in his diocese describing them as “an indispensable part of Carlow and Graiguecullen”.
In his homily to mark the Feast of St Clare and 126 years of the Poor Clares’ presence in his diocese, Bishop Nulty told the congregation gathered in St Clare’s Church in Graigcullen: “They are an invaluable powerhouse of prayer for the wider diocese and indeed much further afield.”
Marking St Clare’s feast day 766 years after the Saint’s death, Bishop Nulty said St Clare had left everything behind to follow Jesus, consecrating her life to poverty and prayer.
Bishop Nulty said Clare’s family tried to get her and her sister Agnes to leave behind the dream of religious life.
“Often family don’t understand a religious calling. I have met mothers terrified of what might happen to their son if he entered the seminary. Their unfounded but understandable fears can block God’s call being answered. The young person must be completely determined and of strong will, like our friend St Clare.”
Of St Clare and St Francis’ decision to leave everything, the bishop asked, “Can we? Is it reasonable to expect someone to leave everything in 2019 and follow a vocation?”
He said the scarcity of vocations today may be because people find it hard to leave everything, to forsake everything for Jesus.
“We find it hard to fall in love with poverty. We all like our comforts.”
Probing what attracted Clare to Francis of Assisi and his simple lifestyle, he suggested that it was the same thing that had attracted so many to travel to be in the presence of the successors of St Clare in Graiguecullen – “the wealth of poverty”.
“Today’s world and society are characterised by superficiality and by shallowness. Clare was born into a wealthy family on 16 July 1194, and she died penniless in 1253. What happened in between is she answered a profound call and we are all invited to do the same this day,” Bishop Nulty said.