Poor Clare Colettines — Palos Park, Illinois
The Story of a Statue
As we journey through the Church’s Year of Grace, we encounter many marvelous events, related by our four evangelists. These stories are all the more wonderful as they are true, and teach us the truth about our own lives: the greatness of God’s love, how life is victorious over the powers of death.
We also have a story we would like to tell you, though a humbler, simpler one, and yet with its own lessons to teach us. We had been in our new monastic home less than a year, when in October 2003, we were asked if we would like a statue. It was a very large statue, mind you – all of nine feet, and heavy, too – being made of concrete. But, oh, was she beautiful, and not only that, she was one of our own Poor Clares, Saint Colette.
Back in the early 15th century, Colette of Corbie was called forth by God to fulfill his plan for the restoration of the Franciscan charism. That unfolding will of God was to take her on long and arduous journeys, making one Poor Clare foundation after another, spending her years and her strength utterly on that for which she had been chosen, and which remains alive today in the hearts of all the daughters of St. Clare who are privileged, as we are, to claim her as our “Second Mother.”
Brought in Three Sections
Because of the size and weight of the statue, she had been taken down and then brought to us in three sections on a large, flatbed truck, too big to maneuver around the back of our monastery. Fortunately, our contractors still had a bobcat tractor here, with a man to drive it, and two men to stand on the back of it so that it would not tilt forward under each section’s weight. She was so beautiful, but where could we erect her? When we innocently inquired if she could be put on one side of our building, we were told, “Yes, but that wall would need to be torn down and re-constructed to support her weight!”
As we prayed and pondered and gazed upon her beautiful face, as she lay in her new resting place behind our monastery, with three newly planted, twelve-inch evergreen saplings growing beside her, we knew. She was to be part of our burial mausoleum. “In nidulo meo, moriar.” These words from the Psalms express in Latin the hope-filled prayer: “In my little nest, I shall die,” and this after living a full Poor Clare life in the “nest” of the enclosure. They were often inscribed over the entrance to a monastery or of the individual “cellula” (small room) of each monk or nun. They are sung in the Communion chant for the feast of our Mother St. Colette.
Dreams and Plans
Again, a time of waiting has passed, with our dreams and plans held in the “nests” of our hearts and minds. Now the time seems to have come when we might look to these dreams becoming a reality. The twelve-inch Arbores Vitae are more than six feet tall. Our plans are gradually moving forward, and with your help and support, which has never failed us in any time of need, we hope that they can progress even further to a concrete shape and form. We are deeply grateful to you for any assistance you are able to give to us, assuring you of our prayers, and of a remembrance in our prayers of your loved ones, in whose memory you might like to make a donation for this project. May God reward you in advance!
And so, what lessons shall we learn from this story of a statue? We learn much about God’s providence, and will surely learn even more as our plans advance and work is begun. We can surely see the mystery of death leading to life eternal, for that is the whole reason for creating a worthy and beautiful resting place for our sisters who have departed this earthly life.
Your Help Is Appreciated
By your kind support and faithful friendship, you become a part of this story. Many of our friends still remember the old Chicago Monastery Chapel on Laflin Street. The cross and cornerstone from that chapel have been carefully saved until this time to be re-installed in the wall opposite the statue of St. Colette. We hope to see this happen during this 800th anniversary year of the Founding of our holy Order by our Mother St. Clare. Your prayers and assistance are deeply appreciated, and you and your loved ones will be gratefully remembered in the prayers of your Poor Clare Nuns.
Read about the re-erection of the statue.