On November 4-6, 2022, the second conference for the post-novices of the Conventual Franciscan formation houses in Padua, Rivotorto, and Assisi took placed in Assisi. The formators of the post novices and some Urbanist Poor Clares from the monasteries of the Federation of St. Clare of Assisi were also present.
The theme of the conference was the canonization of St. Clare, a process that began in 1253, the year Clare died. It ended with her canonization in 1255, which took place at the behest of Pope Alexander IV.
On November 4, the various groups of participants were welcomed to their respective lodgings at the Franciscanum, Rivotorto and Sacro Convento communities. The next day, November 5, the conference got underway at the Church of San Damiano. It was a purposeful place to start the cycle of sessions, given that St. Clare lived there for most of her life.
Over the next few days, the speaker was Friar Marco GUIDA, OFM, a professor at the Pontifical Antonianum University in Rome. He began with an introduction to the figure of Clare, starting with the Franciscan sources and, specifically, with the many passages found there regarding her canonization. Later that morning, the participants explored the San Damiano Church and returned to their lodgings for lunch. In the afternoon, the conference continued at the Sacred Convent. The participants divided into discussion groups, where many interesting conclusions were drawn. First, the close bond between the friars of the First Order and the Poor Clare Sisters of the Second Order was reaffirmed, as well as the need to learn more about Clarian spirituality in the various stages of formation. Next, the participants experienced a very meaningful moment by celebrating Evening Prayer I in the evocative Friar Elias Chapel of the Sacred Convent. A fraternal dinner followed, which provided an additional opportunity to forge new relationships and exchange ideas and proposals.
On Sunday, November 6, Mass was celebrated in the Lower Basilica and was followed by the last conference session. It was aimed at updating the themes and proposals made in the various discussion groups, as a way of summing up this short but intensive study weekend which was carried out in a fraternal atmosphere of communion.
By the time the formation weekend concluded, the participants had arrived at many points for work and reflection, namely, the desire to organize similar meetings again, with the hope that the bond uniting the confreres of the First Order with the Poor Clares , may continue to flourish in the seraphic style, in keeping with St. Francis and St. Clare.
Friar Sebastiano CONTRI