I first met the Poor Clares Sisters shortly after my arrival in Zagreb. Right at the beginning they surprised me with their openness and – especially for sisters living in a closed monastery – with the understanding of the spirit of the times in which we live. I soon realized that this wisdom of theirs is not of this world, but from God whom they faithfully serve through work, prayer, and sacrifice, from God who gives them that they can so clearly distinguish good from evil.
The Order of the Poor Clares is one of the strictest orders in the Catholic Church. It was founded by St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare with the purpose that the sisters who surrender to God in this way of life be the prayer lungs of the entire Franciscan movement. This means that what the Franciscans and Franciscan Sisters of the open type do in the various fields of the apostolate is always accompanied by the prayer of Poor Clares. The sisters live in true poverty and on a strict prayer schedule. They gather for prayer 6 times a day and they get up for the first prayer hour at 3 AM.
The sisters in Zagreb monastery in Mikulići work intensively as seamstresses. The most beautiful baptismal dresses and Holy Mass vestments are being done by these sisters. Their church is the spiritual home of thousands of believers in our Capital. In their church they gather old and young, educated and less educated, pregnant and abandoned mothers, abandoned children and the poor. They live modestly, fasting and praying, sacrificing themselves for others.
In the earthquake that hit Zagreb the Sisters’ convent and their church were severely damaged. The cloister wall separating the monastery from the outside world has been completely demolished. A large part of the monastery is on a landslide and it is only a matter of time before it collapses. The sisters were forced to stop many of their activities, and our mutual friends testify to me that the living conditions in the monastery of St. Clare are below each level.
In a situation like this we have decided to turn to you, our dear friends. We want to help rebuild the monastery as much as we can. Thank you to Croatian Woman - Branch no. 1 Chicago, which agreed to organize this humanitarian project in these new circumstances. This fundraiser is not only praiseworthy but also truly needed and I am sure blessed by God. The Sisters were brought to Zagreb by Blessed Cardinal Stepinac. His wish and intention was for them to watch over our people and our Homeland with their prayers. For our part, we now want to do what is possible to enable this Cardinal's desire to grow and develop, so that the Sisters continue to be the spiritual strength of our people on the path of life. Numerous spiritual vocations that the sisters have in their ruined convent also show that this will be the case. God gives even where everything seems to have stopped. Every gift of yours is appreciated and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for it. And the sisters are already praying for you and your intentions.
Fr. Antonio Musa,
St. Jerome Croatian Parish, Chicago