Franciscan Focus

Just a simple blog of a Secular Franciscan trying to live life with a Franciscan focus.

19 July 2006

Update: Poor Clares in Mexico 

I'd previously posted about a community of Mexican Poor Clares whose monastery wall is damaged, and I've got more details on their situation and how folks can donate to the repair effort. It's distressing that these are cloistered nuns who've left their cloister in order to beg. There has to be a better way!

The Monastery

Monasterio de Santa Clara
General Lopez de Santa Ana n. 36
Colonia Martin Carrera
Delegacion Gustavo A. Madera
07070 Mexico, D.F. - Mexico
Phone: (5) 5772636

What Happened?

Five years ago, a builder was constructing condos near the sisters' monastery and dug his foundation too close to the monastery's foundation. This caused one wall of the monastery to separate from the building. Now there are 1-inch gaps between the walls and the ceiling, and many walls have large cracks. The sisters can't receive any compensation from the builder, who basically strung them along with empty promises until the statute of limitations expired. Then he completely refused to speak with them.

Earthquake Danger

The monastery is in Mexico City, which has previously suffered from many major earthquakes. In an earthquake, one or both of the affected monastery walls could completely separate from the rest of the building and cause the second floor to collapse into the first.

Begging for Donations

The Poor Clares have been working with the Archdiocese of Chicago's Mission Office since 2001, but since the sisters aren't missionaries, they can't make appeals at Masses. So, they've been selling simple religious items and begging on the streets every summer in Chicago's Pilsen area. They've managed to raise $10,000 after five years of begging, but they need a total of $70,000 for the repairs. Because a family member of the abbess is donating his architectural services and will pay the labor cost, the sisters only need enough money to pay for permits and materials.

Hoping to find a more effective way to help them raise the remaining $60,000, the Archdiocese turned to the Secular Franciscans of the Mother Cabrini Region and Franciscan friars in the area.

Fundraising Plan

The seculars are putting together a fundraising plan, which includes launching a web site (I'll share the URL when it's live), sending out brochures, contacting the media, and looking for donors large and small. An account at the Archdiocese of Chicago is already set up and ready to receive donations from individuals and organizations; all donations and grants are fully tax exempt.

To donate, make checks payable to "Catholic Mission Office". On the memo line, write: "For Poor Clares in Mexico".

Send checks to:

Diana Faust, SFO
c/o Franciscan Outreach Association
1645 W. LeMoyne St.
Chicago, IL 60622
USA

For more information, call Diana Faust at (773) 278-6724, or email her at diana @ franoutreach.org (remove spaces).

Like our seraphic Father Francis who begged for stones to rebuild the San Damiano church, these Poor Clares are begging for funds to rebuild the walls of the Monasterio de Santa Clara. They should be back in their cloister, doing what they've dedicated their lives to do -- praying to God on behalf of the whole world. Let's do our part so they can do theirs.

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