God's Oasis: The Monastery of the Poor Clares

The Poor Clares Monastery is hidden by trees and shrubs, but if you pass by very slowly, you’ll be able to glimpse the lovely 108-year-old building at 3501 Rocky River Drive. This is the first permanent foundation of the Poor Clares in the US. The regal Georgian brick building with the 12 symmetrically-placed arched windows and roof cupolas is an architectural treasure. There is also a private cloistered garden and a cemetery for deceased nuns.

The main front entrance is seldom used. Visitors enter through the elevated north entrance door to request prayers and memorial or mass cards for the deceased. There, you will be greeted by one of the two extern nuns (an extern  nun is allowed to interact with the public), Sr. Therese or Sr. St. John. As anyone familiar with the Poor Clares will tell you, if your own prayers are reinforced by the Poor Clares sisters, they will always be answered. Some say it’s because they are a cloistered order of nuns and have a direct line to heaven.

The order has 17 nuns, 15 are cloistered or enclosed and only speak when necessary because they wish to keep a prayerful attitude and open dialog with God. They do converse with each other at the daily recreation hour. All the sisters wear a full habit and the cloister nuns go barefooted all year long. This is not a parish and there are no confessions. Visiting priests from surrounding areas say the morning masses. 

To spend a quiet moment in prayer in their beautiful little Chapel, visitors must walk the length of the monastery to the south entrance, ascend the stairs, and enter the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel on the right. It is opened to the public from 6:15 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. daily. Masses are 6:45 a.m. every morning, except on Monday, 7:00 a.m. and the third Sunday of the month, 8:00 a.m. 

A wonderful committee of about 30 friends, along with the Monastery’s Board of Directors had a “Fun Raiser” this past June at Our Lady of Angel’s Linus Hall. More than 320 people attended the event. It was a great fun-filled afternoon while raising money for the Poor Clares. This event, held once a year, is the biggest source of income for the Monastery.

Sr. Therese said their prayers were answered when Monica Thomas of Bay Village became involved. She along with co-chairpersons Jill and John Grillo of Strongsville spearheaded the fund-raising to a new level. Volunteers worked with the Board of Directors for a year to plan the event. They are from all over the Cleveland area. If you are interested in becoming part of this caring group, email Monica at Thomas248@juno.com

This is God’s Oasis. Stop in and spend a quiet moment in the chapel or start your day at the early morning mass and be inspired by the nuns three-voice chanting in both Latin and English. Time spent here will make your problems easier to cope with and make your day seem so much brighter.@

Thank you, Poor Clares Colettine Sisters, for preserving the lovely refuge of the Monastery and for praying for us.

For more information about worship services, prayer requests and memorials, please call 216-941-2820.


Peggy Calvey Patton

Peggy Calvey Patton is a freelance writer. She lives in West Park.

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Volume 2, Issue 2, Posted 11:02 AM, 08.08.2014