Search This Blog

Monday, July 22, 2013

Today, July 23rd, is the feast day of St.. Cunegunda (Kinga), Poor Clare nun, 1224-1292

The royal dynasty of Hungary in the 13th century has presented the church with a galaxy of saintly women. Among the most brilliant we find Kinga (or Cunegunda), daughter of King Bela IV, and niece of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Other aunts of this saint were St. Hedwig and Blessed Agnes of Prague. Blessed Yolande and the Dominican St. Margaret were her sisters. St. Elizabeth of Portugal and Blessed Salomea were her cousins once removed, and she was the aunt of the holy bishop Louis.
Kinga was born in 1224, and from her birth seemed destined far more for heaven than for earth. As an infant she was heard to say distinctly, "Hail, Queen of Heaven, Mother of the King of Angels!" When she was carried to church, she would keep her eyes raised to heaven during the holy sacrifice if the Mass and would bow her little head whenever she heard the holy names of Jesus and Mary. On Wednesdays and Fridays she would take food but once a day.

Kinga was only 15 when at her parents' request she gave her hand in marriage to Boleslaus, duke of Cracow, who later became king of Poland. The angelic virgin, however, spoke to her spouse so convincingly of the excellence of virginity, that he resolved to embrace a life of continence. Later they made a vow of perpetual chastity before the bishop of Cracow, and persevered in it for forty years of their married life. For this reason history has surnamed Boleslaus the Chaste, while the Church has conferred the title of virgin on Kinga.

At the same time Queen Kinga occupied herself with all the duties of a true mother. She took upon herself the care of her sister Yolande, who was then only 4 years old, and reared her in true holiness. Faithfully imitating her aunt St. Elizabeth, she evinced a truly maternal solicitude for the poor and the oppressed, and visited the sick in the hospitals, nursing them with the tender care of a sister of mercy.

As the first lady of her country, the constant object of her care was the welfare of her people. At that time Poland was suffering from a scarcity of salt. In answer to the prayers of the queen, valuable salt mines were discovered which not only provided for the wants of the Polish people but permitted considerable quantities of salt to be exported. Desirous of increasing the number of heavenly patrons of her kingdom, she obtained from the Holy See the canonization of St. Stanislaus, bishop of Cracow, and of her aunt St. Hedwig, duchess of Silesia. She and her husband established several convents as sanctuaries of prayer for the welfare of the country.

When King Boleslaus died in 1279, the people of the kingdom strove in vain to make Queen Kinga retain the reins of government. The humble virgin replied that it was her intention to retire from the world and consecrate herself wholly to Jesus Christ. She and her sister Yolande, who had been left a widow some months before, received the habit of St. Clare in the convent at Sandek. When she entered the monastery, which she herself had founded, she said to the abbess and the sisters, "Forget what I once was; O come only to be your servant." It became her greatest pleasure to do the most menial tasks.

Almighty God tested her humility by permitting her to become the object of suspicion. She bore the trial heroically, and was then vindicated by miracles.
Kinga was elected abbess, and in this capacity governed her daughters with great prudence and maternal charity. Her community was suffering from a scarcity of water. She pleaded with God to come to her assistance. Then she went to a neighboring brook and with her staff traced the course that it should henceforth follow. The water flowed obediently to her monastery.

In her last illness she was favored with the most intimate union with her Divine Bridegroom. When she had received the last sacraments and her sorrowing daughters were reciting the prayers for the dying, she suddenly exclaimed: "Make room, do you not see our Father Francis coming to assist me?"
It was on the 24th of July, 1292, that her virginal soul took its flight to heaven. Fragrant odor filled her cell, and her face became marvelously beautiful. Numberless miracles occurred at her tomb. Devotion to her was approved by Pope Alexander VIII in the year 1690; and with the approval of Pope Clement XI she was chosen in 1715 as the special patron of the Poles and Lithuanians.

Consider that Holy Writ frequently mentions the kinship of holy persons. Anna, the pious mother of the prophet Samuel, is thus honorably mentioned, the ancestors and defendants of the Patriarch Isaac are spoken of in terms of praise, and we read of the parents of John the Baptist: "They were both just before God, walking in all the commandments and justifications of the Lord without blame" (Luke 1:6). As St. Ambrose puts it, the glory of the saints lies also in this - that they were not necessarily the first to practice virtue, but rather that virtue was at home in their families. And so the kinship of Blessed Kinga reflects credit upon glory by her own virtuous conduct. -- Will your family have reason to be proud of your virtues?

2. Consider how disgraceful it is if a member of a virtuous family strays and walks the way of evil. Such a person dishonors the whole relationship, and his own shame is the greater in as far as he departs from the virtuous path of his relatives. David's son Absolom, who was beset with the ambition to rule, was a strain on the family name. Dina, the daughter of Jacob, brought disgrace and suffering to her father and brothers. The evil repute of such persons clings to them for all times. -- Carefully avoid everything that may bring disgrace on you and your family.

3. Consider that we should be concerned, like Blessed Kinga, to imitate the virtues of our relatives and preserve the honor of our family. She imitated her sainted aunt Elizabeth in caring for the poor and sick. She reared her own sister in sanctity and obtained the honors of the altar for her saintly relative Hedwig. -- Do you, too, endeavor to imitate those of your relatives who have distinguished themselves by virtue, thus setting a good example to the younger members of your relationship? If you are a Tertiary and a member of the Franciscan family, you are related to Blessed Kinga and all the saints of the three orders. As Christians, we are, according to the words of the Apostle, "fellow citizens with the saints and the domestics of God" (Eph 2:19). -- Male a sincere effort to live in a manner worthy of such kinship.


O God, who didst bestow on Blessed Kinga the blessings of Thy sweetness and didst preserve her virginity even in the married state, grant, we beseech Thee, that by her intercession we may ever adhere to Thee in a chaste life, and by imitating her arrive safely in Thy presence. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

from: The Franciscan Book of Saints, ed. by Marion Habig, ofm., © 1959 Franciscan Herald Press

"Be cheerful!" Quote by St. Padre Pio

"Be cheerful! Jesus will take care of everything. Let us pay no attention to people who do not know what they are talking about. Let us trust in Jesus and our Heavenly Mother, and everything will work out well." 
- St. Padre Pio, Franciscan Friar (Capuchin)

Sept 2012 Novice for Rockford Poor Clare Colettines

Almost a year old but still wonderful news for anyone who hasn't seen or know of this!  The pictures and captions come from a good friend "JF" who was able to attend this Clothing Day and posted these on her FB page.  To read her vocation story, go here.

Her new name as a Poor Clare Colettine is "Sr. Mary Agnes of the Divine Bridegroom"!  The Poor Clare Colettine monastery she entered is in Rockford, IL, whose website is here and a page on their life here.

When asked her if she got to pick her dress, she replied yes, she did. They have a few different ones there.  She requested to add the blue sash/ribbon in honor of Our Lady.

Msgr. Kurz, the nuns' chaplain, is blessing the Holy Habit during Holy Mass.

 Then a while after the Holy Mass and a silent thanksgiving, the ceremony began in the parlor with a blessing from Fr. Arial, a Rockford priest she knew well. They were all singing as they opened the curtain. She looked so beautiful in that dress and so happy!!!

These nuns have several younger sisters, but these, I am pretty sure, are the oldest in the community around her. I believe because monasteries usually process by age (of profession) with the youngest first .. so the younger ones were in the hallway.

They have 20 altogether there now (as of Sept 2012), I believe there are more.

The Poor Clare Colettines are one of the few orders left who us the centuries old tradition, custom of the postulant wearing a bridal gown on her day of Clothing.  The PCCs also honor this beautiful tradition because the postulant IS a fiance and soon-to-be Bride of Christ (on her Solemn Profession Day) and because on the day she ran off to join St. Francis and he cut her hair, St. Clare of Assisi wore her finest gown, other garments, head wear and jewels when she gave herself to God.

Here is the above young girl, now Sr. Agnes of the Divine Bridegroom, clothed in her holy habit with the Crown of Flowers.

Sr. Agnes with her Novice cake topped with the Franciscan Crucifix of San Damiano.

Sr. Agnes, filled with Franciscan Joy!

As a novice, Sr. Agnes is now a certified barefoot Poor Clare Colettine!  Postulants are not allowed to go barefoot, besides other "leniences" given to them that are lifted when a novice.  Though you can't see her feet in this picture.

Beautiful Sacred Heart of Jesus

From the St. Monica parish in Hidalgo, Mexico ... May the Sacred Heart of Jesus reign over all hearts!!!

Quote from our holy father, St. Francis of Assisi

"O wonderful loftiness

and stupendous dignity!

O sublime humility!

O humble sublimity!

The Lord of the universe,

God and the Son of God,

so humbles Himself

that He hides Himself

for our salvation

under an ordinary piece of bread!

See the humility of God, brothers,

and pour out your hearts before Him!" 
~ St. Francis of Assisi

Another Quote of Sr. Mary of the Trinity, PCC of Jerusalem

"The religious life is so great a thing that even if a postulant were to die after only a few days of postulancy, she would have for all eternity a degree of charity far greater than if she had stayed in the world; only a few days separate her from the world, but already in her soul an abyss separates her, because she has made that interior act of giving Me her liberty."

~ Our Lord to Sr. Mary of the Trinity, Poor Clare of Jerusalem

Quote of Sr. Mary of the Trinity, Poor Clare Colettine nun of Jerusalem

"I give the fullness of joy to the soul who has really met Me and who receives Me. She then renounces all secondary things without pain, provided she may keep her God! Ah, to help souls to discover Me and to receive Me is the most urgent charity."

- Jesus to Sr. Mary of the Trinity, Poor Clare Colettine nun of Jerusalem

(Above, care of a good friend, she knows who she is if she sees this post!)