Bethlehem Monastery of Poor Clares
The Poor Clares of Barhamsville are a cloistered, monastic community following the inspiration of St. Francis of Assisi and his faithful disciple, St. Clare. We seek the face of God as He reveals Himself in the Liturgy of the Church, our contemplation of the Eucharist and the Scriptures. The fruits of our worship are then shared in a family life of sacrificial love and service to one another. We offer our prayer and our lives as a holocaust of praise and intercession before the throne of God for the whole world.
By walking in her footsteps, the Poor Clares of Bethlehem Monastery seek to mirror the lowliness and poverty of the Mother of God. Like Mary, the Virgin of Bethlehem, we open ourselves moment by moment to the coming of the Word in the depths of our being and give Him birth by the action of divine grace.
St. Clare and her sisters lived their monastic life in San Damiano, a remote and secluded monastery outside the walls of the city of Assisi where they dwelt apart from the world while holding all its needs close to their hearts. It is in the spirit of our holy Founders that we respond to Christ’s invitation to “come away by yourselves to a lonely place” Mount St. Francis is our place of solitude, our city set on a hill where we are hidden with Christ in God. Here at the heart of the Church we serve the Body of Christ and every human soul.
Professed Members: 18
Year Founded: 1957
Federation: Mary Immaculate
Diocese: Richmond, VA
Worldwide: 40 countries
Qualifications: High school education, good mental, emotional and physical health, good standing in the Church
Formation: 1 year aspirancy, 1-2 year postulancy, 2 years novitiate, 5 year juniorate (each stage can be extended as needed)
Age range/limit: 18-30 (exceptions are made)
Belated Vocations: Not usually, but each case is considered individually