"Poor Clares: cloistered
for centuries from our eyes
they nurtured the flowerhead of affliction;
our boisterous age has foisted
new economics on them and we bring
our coughs and raincoats, our tousled nights
into their morning..." John F. Deane
Nested among the Leitrim hills is the small town of Drumshanbo. On a hill, keeping a prayerful watch over this town, live the contemplative Poor Clare Sisters. Their way of life is one of total love and service to God, one another and His people. Visitors are welcome and pray with the sisters in the Adoration chapel, separated only by a light grille.
Per article in the "Leitrim Guardian," there is a sense of warmth everywhere. The brown polished wooden floor and benches, the brown habits of the sisters who come and go quietly in soft brown sandals contribute to the harmony of the atmosphere. The sanctuary is uncluttered, the monstrance on the altar the focus of attention, floral arrangements are simple and beautiful. The hours of prayer continue in unbroken rhythm, at special times of the day there is music, hymns and chants and passerbys can join in morning, noon or night prayer.
Behind the scenes meals are taken in silence except for special days and household chores are shared. Recreation time is for sisterly chats, music and crafts. Creative talents are nurtured, and the care of the sick members of the community is carried out with love and patience. Early to bed and early to rise is their motto for healthy living and long life.
Outside there are gravel pathways bordered by flowers of every hue. Sisters are often seen playing tennis and riding bicycles. In season, trees, blackcurrent and gooseberry bushes are laden with fruit, and a special corner of the garden produces organically grown vegetables.