Today, August 11, is the feast of Italy’s St. Clare. This young woman left her life of nobility to follow St. Francis of Assisi and give her life over to God. St. Clare is also the founder of the order of nuns known as the Poor Clares. Back on Palm Sunday of this year the Poor Clares commenced a yearlong celebration marking their 800th anniversary. The celebration will culminate on St. Clare’s feast day a year from now. St. Clare started the order on Palm Sunday in 1212.
A stained glass image of St. Clare inside the Church of San Damiano, Assisi, Italy.
(Georgia Bulletin Photo By Michael Alexander, June 2005)
My first encounter with the Poor Clares took place back in 1993 or 1994 when Mark Zimmermann, my former editor at The Catholic Standard, Washington, DC, assigned writer Richard Szczepanowski to do a story on the nuns who reside in the nearby neighborhood of Brookland. I joined Richard in an effort to provide photographs for the feature piece.
Initially I must have thought it was going to be pretty boring covering a group of cloistered nuns, but was I ever wrong. They were so happy, so full of life and so in love with Christ. We became good friends with the Poor Clares after the story was published, and at least once a week or more I would meet Richard at their chapel for 7 a.m. Mass.
Some mornings I would take our two children before I dropped them off at St. Gabriel School. At the time the youngest was in kindergarten and the oldest was in the fourth grade. We often enjoyed conversing with the Mother Superior Sister Margaret Mary and the other nuns after Mass in the parlor. The biggest treat for the kids was playing with the Poor Clares’ beagle hound name Kyra. To this day we remain friends with the Poor Clares, and we like to stop by their monastery and home at 3900 13th Street, NE, during visits to D.C. In addition to their friendship, we appreciate their prayers on our behalf.
Today is also the our 27th wedding anniversary. On this day in 1984 at 1 p.m. Tramell and I were married at St. Anthony of Padua Church, Atlanta. To be perfectly honest, we didn’t know it was the feast of St. Clare. We picked that day because it was a Saturday, the church was available and it was a good weekend for relatives and friends. While St. Francis of Assisi was probably delighted that Clare answered the call to religious life, I’m equally blessed and thankful that Tramell became my soul mate in our matrimonial life.
(Photo by Julius Alexander, August 11, 1984)
Happy feast day St. Clare.
Happy anniversary Tramell. I love you today and always!
Michael Alexander, Staff Photographer