Poor Clare Colettines


Monastery of Our Lady and Saint Joseph

Ellesmere, Shropshire, England




                                                                                                                                                  POOR  CLARE'S  

Followers of St. Clare of Assisi born in 1194 who was inspired by St. Francis to choose to live a simple, poor, enclosed Gospel way of life, depending entirely on the Providence of God. The love of Jesus and His most holy Mother drew her to offer her life of prayer and sacrifice for the salvation of souls.  



Francis, poor and humble was signed with the wounds of Jesus on his hands, feet and side, as a sign of his great love for the Crucified.

His loving heart sang a constant hymn to His Creator. He sang of beauty, of love, of peace and friendship: lighting up   the Gospel way of life for all.



Each Poor Clare monastery, while living fully the life St. Clare has given us in her Holy Rule, has it's own particular spirit. Our own monastery, dedicated to Our Lady and St. Joseph, lies in the foot hills of nearby Wales, just outside the little town of Ellesmere.

The countryside is quiet, peaceful and very beautiful. It seems that God has placed our monastery right here in order to show us what He desires for all His children; peace and tranquility in His love. To bring this about is the very purpose of our lives of prayer and sacrifice.

We are a small community and this has many advantages. Each Sister is needed and valued and so it is easier to form a loving united and sharing religious family. The need for Christ's love, to be the very substance of daily community living, becomes strikingly evident. This in turn produces a warm sisterly relationship that is harder to achieve in a larger group.  

Since as Poor Clare's we have no regular income, we depend even more on Divine Providence, extended to us in great measure, by the generosity of our dear friends and our Diocese.

We have a small guest quarter where religious and lay people can come for a few days of quiet prayer and peaceful living and a hall is available for hire for parish outings etc. We can supply tea and biscuits but you will have to bring a packed lunch with you. The beautiful countryside makes a perfect setting for this. For several years now, we have had public expo­sition of the Blessed Sacrament every day. We could never do all this without the very special vocation of our Extern Sisters, who form an invaluable part of our com­munity. They care for all the duties of the public part of the monastery and the people who come here, while liv­ing the full poor Clare life, except for the vow of enclo­sure. Our public chapel is also the parish church for St. Michael's parish. This too we find helpful in understanding our call­ing in Christ's Mystical Body the Church, supporting each other in prayer, example and Christ's love. Our Lord is also calling us to go beyond the bounds of nationality as our little group is composed of Scottish, Irish, Filipino, African and American Sisters and we hope for an even larger mixture, in God's love and plans for us.



Because Poor Clare's are completely given to the contemplative life, they offer to God an exceptional sacrifice of praise, they light up the way of holiness for all God's people, they inspire them by their example and they enrich the Church by their lives of hidden prayer and sacrifice.



We believe in the strength of the Mystical Body of Jesus  Think of the importance of the roots of a tree, or the foundations-of a building... Likewise, we live our enclosure for Jesus seeking to give to His Mystical Body the Church, fertile roots and humble foun­dations. Enclosed, as far as the body is concerned, yes but only in order that we can reach out to the whole world of souls in prayer, by a life of intimate union with Jesus then His work becomes our work.



We Pray

Each Sister constantly communicates with God in her heart. At certain times during the day and once at midnight we pray in our enclosed chapel meditating in silence, singing and chanting the Liturgy of the Hours, praying the Rosary and spending time in silent Eucharistic Adoration.

The highlight of our day is Holy Mass. Benediction unites us in praising and thanking our Eucharistic Saviour for His constant presence in our lives. "I am with you always"

Praising and thanking and adoring God


Praying for the needs of all the people who ask us to pray for them


Praying for the needs of the Church and our world.



Our day is divided between prayer, work, reading and recreation. Our lives are very simple. We work at ordinary things, like cleaning, washing, sewing, gardening, 

cooking, looking after the sick sisters, writing letters to people who ask for prayers and various other works. We live on alms, which means the Lord inspires people who believe in the value of our hidden, prayer life to support us in our material needs. This is what St. Clare means by depending entirely on Divine Providence.


We are a family of love love for God, love for each other and love for all people and creation. In spite of our human limitations, we try to live out the ideal of the first Christian community united "one heart and one soul", sharing material goods as well as those of the spirit. Thus we live with the love of Jesus who has called us together and we hope in this way to reach full human and spiritual maturity.

Sharing, food and friendship, prayer and faith, the ups and downs of life helps to unite us more each day and to live a simple, happy life without overemphasis on material things. In this way we try to live the virtues of Nazareth silent, hidden, simple, humble, poor and grateful. We try to make up for all the ways in which God is offended and to love Him in return for His love.



St. Clare tells us to "cling to His most sweet Mother." We need to keep very close to Mary if we wish to come close to Jesus. She helped the first Christians in their community of love and in the living and spreading of the Gospel message. She keeps us with her in the heart of The Church, close to the needs of all her children.
She helps us to live Nazareth in our world today and to appreciate the value of hidden, silent
humble lives
of prayer.
She helps us to be faithful in our vocation and to Jesus, so that "Through Him, with Him, In Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honour is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever. Amen



   We often hear that the presence of the religious Life in the Church is not well known,

and is the best kept secret. The members of the Religious Communities must bear some responsibility 

for this. In order to balance this a little we would like to invite anyone who

is interested in knowing more about the life, those who would like to explore its

possibilities to contact us.

So are you called to the contemplative life?

Are you looking for that life of intimate union with Jesus? 


If so and want to know more then contact:  

Mother Bernadette T: 44+ (0) 1691 622270

Or write:

Mother Bernadette

Poor Clare Colettines

Monastery of Our Lady and Saint Joseph

Ellesmere, Shropshire,




Catholic Canada



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