Poor Clare Colettines -- Ellesmere, UK


About Us
Horarium (Timetable)
Contact the Nuns


Any interested woman who feels drawn to religious life is encouraged to write, telephone, or visit the monastery.  She is very welcome to speak to the nuns, ask any questions, and pray in the church.  There is no age limit.
If she lives too far away for a day visit or wishes to spend a longer time exploring her calling, she may stay a few days as a Guest/Retreatant in the Guest-wing, with no obligation or pressure to enter.
The Enclosure
The term "Enclosure" tends to be misunderstood, so it is important to clarify what it means as far as vocations are concerned.
The enclosure consists of the larger part of the monastery and garden where the religious community live and work.  This area is strictly private, for the nuns only, and no one is allowed to enter the private enclosure unless it is essential (maintenance, repairs, etc.).
"Outside Enclosure" is anything beyond the enclosure door where the cloistered/enclosed nuns don't normally go, even if it is part of the monastery building, e.g. the guest-wing; reception rooms; the front door; and the Public Church.  The cloistered/enclosed nuns can meet visitors in a room called the Parlour, where the visitor enters from one side and the nun from the other, to talk through a grille.
The extern sisters live inside the enclosure with the cloistered nuns, but do certain duties outside the enclosure, e.g. answering the door; greeting guests; duties in the public side of the church.  They also go out in public for certain reasons, e.g. necessary shopping and posting letters.
Two Vocations
This convent offers two ways of living the Poor Clare Colettine life.  Both are valid and recognized types of religious life.
There are Cloistered Colettines (enclosed) and Extern Colettines (not enclosed).
The formation (training) for both is the same.  The only variation will be in some work duties.  So, during formation, if a person is unsure of what vocation she is called to, she may try both types to help her decide.
A person in formation may choose to leave at any time.
The postulancy lasts for a year and is an introduction ot the Poor Clare Colettine life.
An enclosed postulant will spend this time inside the enclosure.
An extern postulant will spend the first six months inside the enclosure.  During the second six months, she will start learning how to assist the extern sisters in some of their duties outside the enclosure.
The postulant will be asked to bring a pair of sandals, any brown clothing and any white blouses that she has.  A brown sleeveless dress and a brown veil will be provided.
The novitiate consists of one "canonical year" completely within the enclosure, even for extern sisters.  It is a time of restricted contact with the world, for studying and deepening the prayer life in preparation for the vows.
An extra year may be added, if it is felt that the novice requires more time at this level.  If she does have a second year as a novice, the extern novices will have duties outside the enclosure with the extern sisters.
A novice will receive the habit of the Poor Clare Colettines and a white veil, but there will be no knots in her cord-belt.
Junior Professed
A Junior Professed sister receives a black veil and makes vows for three years.  As she makes her vows, she ties knots in her cord-belt.
The extern sisters make three vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience.
The cloistered sisters take those same three vows and an extra vow of enclosure.
Final Profession
At Final Profession, a ring is placed on the finger of the sister to wed her to Our Lord.  She is then a full member of the community, and forever a Bride of Christ.

Externs at Papal Visit to the UK

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