Our Lady of the Pearl
Secular Franciscan Fraternity
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"We adore you, O Christ, and
we praise you.
Because by your holy cross,
you have redeemed the world."
Saint Francis of Assisi

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SAINT COLETTE

The life of Saint Colette, founder of Colettine Poor Clares and reformer.  Colette began her reform during the time of the Great Western Schism (1378-1417) when three men claimed to be pope and thus divided Western Christianity. The 15th century in general was a very difficult one for the Western Church. Abuses long neglected cost the Church dearly in the following century.  Colette reintroduced the primitive Rule of St. Clare in the 17 monasteries she established.

The Blessing of Saint Colette

May the Father in his mercy,
and the son by his passion, and the Holy Spirit,
 the fountain of peace and sweetness and love
fill you with all consolations.
Amen

 


This painting was done by the Sisters of the
Poor Clare Colettines, Hawarden, WALES GB.
 Their website is
here.
 Ty Mam Duw is Welsh and means
The House of the Mother of God.

The Sisters say that on the "left of this painting is a small icon representing Colette as the nurturer of life to whom we pray for the unborn, on the right is Colette and her vision of the golden trees, and the middle is representative of  Colette leading others through the reed sea into the freedom of the Spirit."  The vision of the golden trees is explained here.

SAINT COLETTE

Founder of Colettine Poor Clares (Clarisses), born 13 January 1381, at Corbie in Picardy, France; died at Ghent, 6 March, 1447. Her father, Robert Boellet, was the carpenter of the famous Benedictine Abbey of Corbie; her mother's name was Marguerite Moyon. Colette joined successively the Bequines, the Benedictines, and the Urbanist Poor Clares. Later she lived for a while as a recluse. Having resolved to reform the Poor Clares, she turned to the antipope, Benedict XIII (Pedro de Luna), then recognized by France as the rightful pope. Benedict allowed her to enter to the order of Poor Clares and empowered her by several Bulls, dated 1406, 1407, 1408, and 1412 to found new convents and complete the reform of the order. With the approval of the Countess of Geneva and the Franciscan Henri de la Beaume, her confessor and spiritual guide, Colette began her work at Beaume, in the Diocese of Geneva. She remained there but a short time and soon opened at Besanšon her first convent in an almost abandoned house of Urbanist Poor Clares. Thence her reform spread to Auxonne (1410), to Poligny, to Ghent (1412), to Heidelberg (1444), to Amiens, etc. To the seventeen convents founded during her lifetime must be added another begun by her at Pont-Ó-Mousson in Lorraine. She also inaugurated a reform among the Franciscan friars (the Coletani), not to be confounded with the Observants. These Coletani remained obedient to the authority of the provincial of the Franciscan convents, and never attained much importance even in France. In 1448 they had only thirteen convents, and together with other small branches of the Franciscan Order were suppressed in 1417 by Leo X. In addition to the strict rules of the Poor Clares, the Colettines follow their special constitutions sanctioned in 1434 by the General of the Franciscans, William of Casale, approved in 1448 by Nicholas V, in 1458 by Pius II, and in 1482 by Sixtus IV.

St. Colette was beatified 23 January, 1740, and canonized 24 May, 1807. She was not only a woman of sincere piety, but also intelligent and energetic, and exercised a remarkable moral power over all her associates. She was very austere and mortified in her life, for which God rewarded her by supernatural favours and the gift of miracles. For the convents reformed by her she prescribed extreme poverty, to go barefooted, and the observance of perpetual fast and abstinence. The Colettine Sisters are found today, outside of France, in Belgium, Germany, Spain, England, and the United States.

Sources: Text taken entirely from "The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913,"  which is in the public domain.

 


 


(click link)


 A picture of the Sisters, taken April 2008
 with Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds,
who came to give a day of recollection.

There is more information on Saint Colette
on the website of
Poor Clare Colettine Community.

 


 

The Chaplet of Saint Colette

THE CHAPLET OF ST. COLETTE WITH AUDIO
(click link)

 

 

 

LETTER FROM ST. COLETTE
To Marie de Boen of Ghent c. 1442

Dear Lady and especially loved in Our Lord Jesus Christ, as much and as humbly as I can and may, I recommend myself always to your good grace and in your devout prayers and supplications before Our Lord Jesus Christ.

I beg you to strive ceaselessly to go from strength to strength in his most perfect love, remaining continually, strong and virtuous in his most holy and worthy service; for the kingdom is promised to those who set out on this way, but it is to those who persevere loyally that the crown will be given. And as long as we are alive there will be many perils, especially from our enemies, the world and the flesh, who day and night wage war on us in numberless ways.  Against these we must arm and defend ourselves, for it is needful for us to conquer them if we do not want to be overcome ourselves, and, as Saint Paul says, we cannot have the victory without a battle, nor a crown without a victory.

 
We can do nothing by ourselves without the aid and grace of God. We can neither do good nor resist our enemies. We need to turn to our good and true Master, Our Lord Jesus Christ and to beg him to equip us with his weapons so that we can the more surely overcome. These weapons, among others with which he was armed in this poor world, while bringing about and fulfilling the mystery of our redemption in the face of these three adversaries were: against the world, true and holy poverty from his birth until his death stripped naked on the cross: against the flesh, pure, holy and perfect chastity of heart and body, born and conceived of a pure, virgin mother: against the Adversary, perfect humility and true obedience right up to his death and all in perfect charity.
 
And whoever is thus armed can go forward into battle with sure heart. In short, these are the weapons with which he has wished to equip those men and women whom by means of his grace he has wished to call into his service, and who have wanted to follow him in the life of the Gospel and the way of the Apostles.

And I beseech him in his infinite goodness always to watch over and guard you completely, and so to enlighten you with his grace, that you may serve him always and endlessly, and love Him in the way of life which is most pleasing to him, and fight for him loyally under the banner of his Church. Thus you will be able to love him everlastingly and reign in his glorious, heavenly palace, for ever and ever.

 
Amen.
Your unworthy handmaid who prays for you,
 
Sister Colette.
Letter to Marie de Boen of Ghent c. 1442

Walled in Light: St. Colette

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