On September 17-21, 2023, twenty-one sisters of the Federation of the Urbanist Poor Clares of Italy met together at the Seraphicum College in Rome for their annual convocation of the abbesses. Over the last ten years, this event has been a time for formation, discussion, exchanging ideas, and sharing joys and struggles.

This year, the abbesses decided to invite an additional sister from each community in order to make the discussions more enriching and the debate more participatory. The presence of several younger sisters was significant.
On September 18, the day began with Morning Prayer and Mass presided over by the Minister General, Friar Carlos TROVARELLI. Friar Carlos then gave a speech in which he talked about the importance of Franciscan minority. He stressed that being lesser ones is a reminder of our identity. He urged the sisters not to fear the difficult, rapidly changing and often destabilizing times we face. Instead, he invited them to be courageous and responsible in embracing their identity and history as places where they encounter the Lord. To encourage them further, Friar Carlos told the sisters about some of the ups and downs that the friars of the First Order face.
In the second half of the morning, the Procurator General, Friar Maurizio DI PAOLO, talked to the sisters about a possible methodology for the difficult task of revising and rewriting the Constitutions of the Second Order. The sisters accepted the responsibility with enthusiasm and decided to start work on revising their Constitutions. To better coordinate their efforts, they formed a commission of three sisters to facilitate collaboration with the Poor Clares of the Federation of Poland.
In the afternoon, the Federal President of the Urbanist Poor Clares of Italy, Mother Damiana ARDESI, updated the participants about the latest steps taken towards the foundation of an Urbanist Poor Clare community in Lebanon. Five sisters from three different monasteries are doing the preparatory work on this. They are studying Arabic and searching for a suitable place to establish a monastery. A roster of core members for the founding community is being coordinated so that their community might be the principle witness in their proclamation of the Kingdom.
On September 19, the day began with morning Mass presided over by the General Delegate for the Second Order, Friar Germano TOGNETTI. Next, Friar Marco GUIDA, OFM, gave a lecture entitled: “The Rule of Urban IV: Continuity, Differences, Value and Fortune with Respect to the Clarian Form of Life.”
On September 20, the sisters went to Viterbo, Italy, to the St. Rose Monastery. Up until a few years ago, there had been a community of Poor Clares there. Today, it is home to a small community of Franciscan Alcantarine Sisters. The Poor Clares visited the monastic complex, the archives and the library of the Federation, which have been expertly preserved and enriched by Dr. Eleonora RAVA and Dr. Filippo SEDDA of the St. Rose Study Center. Next, they met with the Most Reverend Orazio Francesco PIAZZA, Bishop of Viterbo, Italy. After meeting with the bishop, they attended a Mass at which the bishop himself presided. Next, the Alcantarine Sisters, who are always welcoming to the Poor Clares, lovingly prepared a fraternal banquet for the sisters, which could not be missed. In the afternoon, the assembly met to discuss and consider the possibility of reopening a Poor Clare community at the St. Rose Monastery itself. The sisters entrust this project to St. Rose of Viterbo, and to the intercession of all the faithful, certain that, if St. Rose wills it, the project will succeed!

Let us praise the Lord!

The Poor Clares