Capuchin Poor Clares

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Capuchin Poor Clares

The Capuchin Poor Clares were founded in Naples, Italy, in 1538, by Ven. Maria Laurentia Longo. The order still exists and it now has groups in Mexico and the United States. Members are referred to as Capuchinesses.[1]


The order of St Clare or the Poor Clares was founded by St Clare of Assisi in 1212. During the 15th century a French nun, Saint Colette, re-created the original concept of absolute poverty and dedication. This order was established in the 16th century in Italy based on the strict rules of the order's founder.[2]

Brown habit, black veil, white wimple

Maria Laurentia Longo had built a hospital and house that cared for prostitutes.[3] The first community of nuns was formed in 1538, organised by priests from the Theatine order. (The Theatines had been formed fourteen years earlier.) This new body was soon organised not by the Theatines but by the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, usually known as Capuchins.[3] The Capuchin Poor Clares follow the original ideals of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare of Assisi. The Capuchin Poor Clares are a cloistered community of contemplative religious sisters.[2] Longo wanted to re-establish the original concepts of religious simplicity, selfless poverty and the austerity of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare of Assisi set by Matteo da Bascio when he founded the order of the Capuchin monks. Longo's new order took the same habit design as the Capuchin monks. Like the monks, the nuns wore a simple brown tunic knotted with a cord at the waist and a short cape. The only addition for nuns was a wimple and a black veil.[4]

A notable member of the order was Saint Veronica Giuliani who joined the order in Città di Castello in Italy in 1677. She rose to be a mystic and abbess, and in 1839 she was canonised by Pope Gregory XVI.[5]

In America[edit]

In the United States, the Capuchin Poor Clares have monasteries in Wilmington, Delaware, Amarillo, Texas, Alamo, Texas, and Pueblo, Colorado. At Our Lady of Light Monastery in Denver there are nine professed sisters. The monastery in Denver was founded in Irapuato in central Mexico in 1988. In addition to sewing habits, the sisters provide for the needs of their community by making and selling cookies.[6]


  1. ^ "Capuchinesses". Catholic Encyclopedia. 
  2. ^ a b Poor Clares, Encyclopedia Brittanica, Retrieved 3 December 2015
  3. ^ a b Pamela Joseph Benson; Victoria Kirkham (2005). Strong Voices, Weak History: Early Women Writers & Canons in England, France, & Italy. University of Michigan Press. pp. 83–. ISBN 0-472-06881-4. 
  4. ^ Capuchine Nun, British Museum, Retrieved 3 December 2015
  5. ^ Veronica Giuliani, Benedict XVI, Retrieved 3 December 2015

External links[edit]