Our congregation is blessed with a rich Franciscan heritage. St. Francis guides us in specific ways to follow in the footprints of the Gospel message. St. Clare teaches us the values of contemplation and community life. St. Elizabeth, the patroness of our third order, witnesses to us a life of active loving service to the poor. Mother M. Clara Pfaender, our Foundress, encourages us to integrate our contemplative and active lives in whatever way we are to serve others.
St. Francis of Assisi
St. Francis of Assisi (1182- October 4, 1226) born into a wealthy middle class family of Assisi, died a poor little one outside the walls of the city. Francis grew upliving an extravagant life. He aspired to being a knight, fighting in the Crusades.
Taken prisoner during a war with the neighboring town of Perugia, Francis became disillusioned with his life and his material and superficial desires.
In the silence of his heart Francis heard the words “Francis, go rebuild my house.” This call from God gave him a purpose in life to which he responded immediately. Francis knew in his heart that he was to give God his all.
And he came to know the generous love of God’s response. With the simple greeting, “May the Lord give you peace,” Francis called others to realize God’s love in their own lives.
St. Clare of Assisi
St. Clare of Assisi (July 16, 1194 – August 11, 1253) born into a noble family of Assisi, died a poor sister to all.
Clare grew up in a family where nothing was wanting. Though her father rarely present, she developed a close relationship with her mother. From her mother Clare learned the value of her faith and accompanied her mother on walks to distribute food to the poor.
Clare’s family home was located near the church of San Rufino. From her window Clare would have heard Francis as he preached in the church piazza.
Clare found inspiration in Francis’ words and the life that he led. Clare pondered all this and her time of reflection would lead her to desire to become a follower of Christ as Francis was.
Clare wished to join the friars in ministering to the poor and needy, but in her day, religious women were to remain in cloister. Clare and her sisters became so well known for their kindness that people and religious leaders from far and wide came for healing and advice.
Foundress of the Congregation
Mother M. Clara Pfaender named Anna Theresia Pfaender (December 6, 1827 – October 5, 1882) born a much loved eldest daughter in Hallenberg, Germany, died a faithful outcast in Rome, Italy.
Mother M. Clara wanted to give her all to God, but she wasn’t sure how to do this. Inspired by the life of St. Francis, she wanted to follow his life of holiness. Mother M. Clara entered religious life with the Sisters of Christian Charity.