The POOR CLARE (COLETTINE) RELIGIOUS, who live a life of prayer and poverty as decreed by both St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare, established their first American convent on 10 Aug. 1877 in a former school at McBride and Broadway in Cleveland. Two Italian Poor Clare sisters, Sister Mary Magdalene Bentivoglio and her sister, Sister Mary Constance of Jesus, had originally hoped to establish a monastery in Minnesota, but that proved impractical. They traveled to Cleveland at the request of Fr. Gregory Janknecht, OFM. In Dec. 1877 5 Poor Clare nuns arrived from Germany: Sisters Josepha, Margaret Mary, M. Hyacinth, Theresa, and Veronica, later the community's first abbess. The Bismarck government had disbanded their convent in Duesseldorf in 1875. The sisters fled to Holland, where they received an invitation to establish a contemplative community in Cleveland. After the Italian sisters left in 1878 to establish a community in New York, the German sisters maintained the monastery.

In 1879 the sisters bought property on Perry (E. 22nd) St. just north of St. Bridget Church for a new convent. By 1885 they had established their growing community there. Ten acres of property on Rocky River Dr. were purchased in Jan. 1905 for a larger facility, and construction began under the direction of the Franciscan brother Leonard Darschied. The building was blessed on 14 June 1906 by Bp. IGNATIUS F. HORSTMANN. The Poor Clares supported themselves by manual labor and alms. The sisters founded other communities of Poor Clare Religious in Chicago and Rockford, IL, Oakland, CA, Newport News, VA, and Brazil.

Papers of Poor Clares, Archives, Diocese of Cleveland.


Article Categories