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Pope marvels at rebirth of Poor Clare monastery after ’09 quake


Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA | i.MEDIA

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 04/27/21

12 young sisters are part of what is now a flourishing community.

Pope Francis on April 26 met with Poor Clare nuns of the Convent of St. Clare of Paganica, outside the Italian city of L’Aquila. His brief reflection with the women religious gave the pope a chance to reflect on the Gospel truth about how God brings good out of difficulty.

The pope noted how the sisters’ monastery was destroyed in the 2009 earthquake, and the abbess, Mother Gemma Antonucci, was killed in the rubble.

However, God brought you out of that tragedy stronger and, like the grain of wheat that must die in order to bear fruit, so it was also for your monastic community.

You experienced great pain, but also the loving care of your heavenly Father and the solidarity of so many people.

“On that night you lost everything apart from God and fraternity. From these two steadfast points you set out again with courage,” Pope Francis said.

The pope noted how the nuns had to settle in a temporary structure at first, but that 10 years on, they were able to return to a “rebuilt and restored monastery.”

Start afresh with God

The grace that God has granted since, the pope said, is a message for us all:

Now your community is flourishing, made up of 12 sisters, all young.

This is the message you have given to the people: In the face of tragedy, it is necessary to start afresh from God and from fraternal solidarity. Thank you so much for this!

The Holy Father thanked the sisters for their prayer and for the Easter candle they decorated, which is in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta, where the pope celebrates daily Mass.

“And please continue to pray for me and for the whole Church,” the pope said.

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