Our Order, originally called the ‘Franciscan Sisters of the Most Blessed Sacrament, was founded in the 19th century in France on the initiative of a zealous promoter of religious revival in France – Fr. John Baptist Heurlaut - Fr. Bonaventure (1816-1887) and Josephine Bouillevaux – Mother Mary of St. Clare (1820-1871). It is considered that the Order was founded on December 8 1854, which is the day on which the Mother Foundress and her first companions began a retreat before they made their holy profession.
After several years of work the Congregation moved to Paris, where Fr. Heurlaut OFMCap was engaged in apostolic ministry. While promoting in a special way the cult of the Blessed Sacrament among the residents of Paris, he was watching over the spiritual formation of the Congregation that was coming into being. His spiritual life was based on two pillars – the devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to Mary Immaculate. In this spirit he also formed the first sisters. He recommended to them a frequent and even daily Holy Communion, which was not a common practice in the Church at that time.
In 1856 the sisters moved to Troyes, near Paris. The spreading of the Order beyond the borders of France – first to Poland and then to other countries – was the work of a Polish woman, the Servant of God, Mother Mary of the Cross Morawska (1842-1906), who in 1866 joined the Franciscan Sisters of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Troyes. In April 1871, accompanied by six sisters, she left Troyes with the blessing of the Mother Foundress, M. Mary of St. Clare in order to go to Poland to start a new foundation.
Our first monastery in the Polish territories was set up in 1871 in Granowo, near Poznan. The sisters, however, were soon forced to look for another place for the monastery.They moved to Gniezno, and then in 1873 to Lviv, where they began the construction of a new monastery and the church of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, in which until 1946 they continued the perpetual adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
During her busy life M. Mary Morawska of the Cross reformed the Constitutions, in which she expressed the aim of the Order – the perpetual adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament in a spirit of thanksgiving. She also strove for the adoption of of the Rule of St. Clare by the entire Order. However, the actual transition from the Third to the Second Order of St. Francis took place only after the death of Mother Mary of the Cross, on June 29, 1912. Through that the Order obtained the privilege of the papal enclosure and solemn vows.
On October 25 2002 in Lviv, cardinal Marian Jaworski solemnly opened the beatification process of Mother Mary Morawska of the Cross, who already during her lifetime, was surrounded by the fame of holiness.
In Poland the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration have their homes in Bydgoszcz, Elblag, Kęty, Kłodzko, Pniewy, Słupsk, Hajnówka and Ząbkowice Śląskie.
‘Let us give thanks to God through Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament’
‘Let us with Mary adore the Most Blessed Sacrament!’
From the beginning the main aim of our contemplative and cloistered communities, has been from the adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, offered in a spirit of thanksgiving. We were called to a continuous inner prayer. Thus we recite the entire Liturgy of the Hours and each of us has the privilege of having an hour of adoration during the day. At night we adore the Most Blessed Sacrament taking turns every two hours. While observing the enclosure we do not feel separated from the concerns and problems experienced by our brothers and sisters in the world. Their suffering becomes ours, and their joy enhances our thanksgiving.
Monastery in Klodzko
In 1946, due to changes in the borders of the Polish state after World War II, our sisters had to leave the city of Lviv and with a huge number of returnees made their way to the "new" Poland. Some reached Kłodzko, where they were able to settle down in a post- Franciscan convent, devastated as a result of the war.
The history of the friary, founded by Henry the Elder (son of King George of Podebrad) and his wife, Ursula, is long and interesting. Henry and Ursula donated the square and the church (chapel) of St. George to Friars of Scricter Observance. On the facade of the church on the left side above the wall the IHS sign of the 15th century has been preserved, denoting the abbreviation of the Name of Jesus, which was used by the Bernardines. After the curse and the interdict cast on the city on April 27 1467, on the grounds of Kłodzko’s solidarity with George of Podebrad (a Hussite) were ultimately withdrawn, Henry (his son) tried to prove that he was faithful to the Catholic Church. For that reason he introduced a new Order of reformed Franciscans, and made their convent the "home-monastery' of the Kłodzko family of Podebrad. He also founded a family tomb there.
The convent was erected in 1475. After 1811, abandoned by the Friars Minor, it passed into the possession of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
After World War II, as mentioned above, the convent was taken over by the sisters who came from Lviv – the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration (then called the Franciscan Sisters of the Most Blessed Sacrament).
At present there are 14 sisters living under one roof with the Lord Jesus. The heart of the community and of our personal lives as adorers is JESUS present in the Blessed Sacrament. He is the One to whom we consecrate our whole life. Adoration leads us to unite with His thanksgiving and worship of the Father in the Holy Spirit, with His sacrifice of life and love.
Remaining in the enclosure, we do not engage in apostolic activity outside the monastery. However, by our example, through being faithful to the adoration we try to attract many to Jesus. Our life is made up of prayer and work, which includes such daily routines as cleaning, cooking, caring for sick sisters and for guests. We do not do anything special and yet in the silence of our enclosure we experience, as Mary did, that God does great things for us and for those whom we remember in our prayers.
We begin the day in our community by waking-up at 5:00 am. At 5:30 we have our morning meditation.
After the breviary prayer – the Office of Readings, the Morning Prayer and the Midmorning Prayer we leave the choir in order to have breakfast, after which each of us goes on her way to undertake the duties assigned by the superior. We accept work as a grace and it is primarily through work that we make our living.
Or sisters embroider to order standards, church banners, chasubles, stoles as well as Mass linens and other liturgical vestments. Every job is part of our prayer life and should not extinguish its spirit, as St. Francis teaches.
At noon we say the Midday Prayer, the rosary and other community prayers, which we offer for our benefactors and for all those who commend themselves to our prayers.
At about 12:15 we eat dinner in the monastery refectory. We take our meals listening to reading from a spiritual book or in silence except on feast days and during solemnities, which we enjoy in a joyful family spirit.
Recreation has an important place in community life. The daily schedule in our Order includes two recreation periods: at dinner time and in the evening. Recreation is a community building exercise, it facilitates our relationships and offers space for an exchange of ideas and experiences. It brings the sisters closer to one another and strengthens the ties of family love.
Every day a certain time is allotted for personal spiritual reading and common formation study (the so-called class). It embraces the study of theology, of the Holy Scripture, liturgy, documents of the Holy See, Franciscan heritage as well as of the knowledge of the world, the history of the Church and of the Order.
From 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. there is the so-called Grand Silence to commemorate the Lord’s Passion.
In this permanent schedule every sister has an hour of adoration which is fixed by the superior.
After the Evening Prayer we participate in the conventual HOLY MASS at 5:30 p.m.
The Eucharist is for us the centre of our consecrated life. It is the most important event of the day. The Most Holy Sacrifice is strictly combined with our vocation of adorers of the Eucharistic Jesus. Adoration extends the Sacrifice and flows from it as from its source.
At 6:30 p.m. we go to the refectory for supper, during which the times of the sisters’ night adoration are assigned.
We finish the day with the Night Prayer. At 9:00 p.m. the night adoration begins.
Our religious vestments, i.e. the habit, are for us and for the world a sign of a life totally consecrated to God. The habit also distinguishes us form other religious families.
The simple brown, cross-form habit reminds us that we have died to the world and from now on we are living for God.
The white cord, which we tie around our waist, expresses out willingness to do penance and make sacrifices. We wear a white head covering, a black veil and a small monstrance on the scapulary, which indicates our Eucharistic vocation. During liturgy and important community services we put on a long, brown cloak.
We live our life with God and for Him in silence and joy. Silence helps us to aim at union with the Lord and opens us to the voice of the Holy Spirit. The Sanctifying Spirit is our first Formator.
For us, Poor Clares, formation is a process of being clothed in Christ on the Franciscan way of evangelical life in a community and through a community.
Religious formation begins at the stage of aspirancy and is continued in the postulancy (for about a year), in the novitiate (two years) and during the period of temporary vows(about five years).
The formation of young sisters is supervised by the mistress.
The solemn profession introduces a sister to the next formation stage – a continual conversion to God and a deeper immersion in her vocation.
The Eucharistic Guard of Honour
Our community has the joy of having a sizeable group of over 60 lay people (The Eucharistic Guard of Honour), which has adored the Lord Jesus in our church for many years. In 2004 The Eucharistic Guard of Honour was approved by Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz, Metropolitan Archbishop of Wroclaw, who simultaneously approved the Statue of the association. The Association has a board of its own and its Director is the current chaplain of our monastery. At present the director of the EGH and at the same time our chaplain is Father Ryszard Maraś OFM, PhD. Once a month the members of the association participate in formation meetings, they have hours of day adoration in our church allotted to them and for a few years they have also assisted us in night adoration.