The article below is from this article: http://stlouisreview.com/article/2012-07-25/prayers-sweat-and-joy
Prayers, sweat and joy are part of the Poor Clare lifeAs the rythmic chanting of afternoon prayers begin, the Poor Clare Nuns have a serene calmness about them, despite praying in a chapel without air conditioning.
On this 100-plus degree day, the sisters — sweat dripping underneath their thick, brown habits — don’t bat an eyelash at the heat as they offer their prayers of the Liturgy of the Hours, which they do as a community seven times a day.
Mother Mary Elizabeth, abbess, said that the summer always brings an extra element of suffering, but that penance is just a part of what the Poor Clare Nuns take on as part of their charism.
Next month, the cloistered, contemplative community of 12 will hold a novena to close a year of celebrations marking the 800th anniversary of the order. The community is located at 200 Marycrest Drive, off Telegraph Road, in south St. Louis County. (See related box.)
In 1212, foundress St. Clare left her home in Italy to follow in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi. She was clothed in a poor habit as a sign of her consecration to God. Several others joined her at the Church of San Damiano, just outside of Assisi, and began what was called the Poor Ladies. After St. Clare’s death in 1253, the community became known as the Poor Clares or Nuns of the Order of St. Clare.
The Poor Clare Nuns’ mission is to live the Gospel in total poverty, through a life of prayer and penance. They do so through daily prayer, readings, communing with God and silent meditation. Living in community is another critical aspect of the sisters’ charism. They share responsibilities for the upkeep of the monastery. The order in St. Louis have a specialty of making altar breads for use in the Holy Mass.
Sister Mary Leo, former abbess, said that while the sisters are physically separated from the world by means of their cloister, they do so “for the world.” That means they offer themselves in prayer for the intentions of the whole world. To live out that charism, the sisters take vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and enclosure. Mother Mary Elizabeth noted that while all cloistered communities live in enclosure, most other communities do not have a specific vow of enclosure.
Pope John Paul II called St. Clare the passionate lover of the poor crucified Christ, said Sister Mary Catherine. That translates into that “we’re embracing whatever happens with Him for the world,” she explained.