The first Capuchin Poor Clares who set foot in the Mile-High city to stay arrived on the chilly morning of Nov. 17, 1988, from the Mexican city of Irapuato. Ten sisters had been chosen from among the numerous 42 members that resided in their former monastery, and they were ready to establish the third monastery of Capuchin Poor Clares in the country.
Thirty years later, they say they are overall grateful for the help and support they have received from people, and in their gratitude celebrated a Mass for their anniversary presided by Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila at Our Lady of Light Monastery in Denver on Nov. 17.
“What we experience the most is gratefulness to God and to the people that have supported us so much,” said Mother Maria de Cristo, abbess of Our Lady of Light Monastery. “Certainly, the community hasn’t grown that much but God has manifested himself through the many people that have touched our lives and the people that have been touched by ours.”
Six out of the eight sisters currently living at Our Lady of Light Monastery in the Highlands form part of the original group of 10 that answered the call by the Capuchin Provincial Minister of the Mid-America Province Charles J. Chaput, now Archbishop of Philadelphia and former Archbishop of Denver, to open the first Capuchin Poor Clare monastery in the province. Today, the order counts with two young women who are aspirants to enter the community.
Mother Maria de Cristo emphasized the importance of the Capuchin spirituality of trusting in God’s providence, which in the past few years has also taken the form of building a new monastery and receiving more vocations.
What we experience the most is gratefulness to God and to the people that have supported us so much”
“When we arrived, the archdiocese graciously provided us with a place to begin. It was a parish rectory that we have adapted as a monastery,” she said. “Now, the neighborhood is too populated and loud to live a contemplative life, so we hope to build a monastery according to our lifestyle.”
The sisters had originally purchased land in Watkins eight years ago, hoping to build a monastery there, but the busyness of oil companies led them to resell the land and look for a different option.
They are now hoping to begin building their new monastery next year in Byers, on a piece of land donated by a family of the same town.
“We hope that this new monastery will have a much better contemplative environment for us all and also for vocations,” Mother Maria de Cristo said.
Meanwhile, the Capuchin Poor Clares continue to pray for Denver and the Church.
“That is where our spiritual fruitfulness for the Church comes from,” Mother Maria de Cristo concluded. “We don’t live an intimist life, but rather, we’re here to offer up our lives and sacrifices for the Church and the needs in the world.”
Featured image by Anya Semenoff | A&D Creative