Our Lady's Little Scribe seeks to use the internet for sharing the Catholic faith and Franciscan spirituality, going from Gospel to life and life to the Gospel.

The silk painting, shown above, is by Ty Mam Duw, Poor Clare Colettines, Hawarden, WALES GB. Their website is here. Ty Mam Duw is Welsh and means The House of the Mother of God. Our Lady of the Pearl cherishes their friendship and is grateful for their many kindnesses and prayers. The image is used with permission.

Entertaining Angels

Entertaining Angels
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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Sister Fidelis Hart, OSC

Sister Fidelis Hart, OSC, and her twin, Maude, were born on August 8, 1915, in Liverpool England. While she was a young child, she and her family immigrated to the United States. She attended a Capuchin Franciscan grade school, reading stories of St. Francis and Franciscan saints. At the age of 18, she entered the Carmelite Sisters for the Infirm on September 12, 1934, and made her First Profession with the Carmelite Sisters on March 19, 1936.

On June 4, 1952, Sister Fidelis transferred to the Poor Clares in Memphis. Tennessee, and made her Solemn Profession on July 1, 1954. From Memphis she went to Saint Clare's Monastery in New Orleans. In 1979, she was appointed spiritual assistant to St. Teresa of Avila's Secular Franciscan Fraternity along with nurturing other SFO communities and many Secular Franciscans. In 2004, Sister celebrated 70 years of religious life and 50 years as a professed Poor Clare.

From the beginning of its history until the present, Sister Fidelis has been with Our Lady of the Pearl, providing spiritual direction and ongoing formation along with much mothering and guidance. She is our friend, our sister, our mother and our inspiration.

My First Meeting with Franciscans

In November 1922, after a stormy voyage across the Atlantic, we finally reached New York harbor. My father, who had sailed from England a year earlier, and two of his sisters met us. After a few days of rest my mother took the seven of us to enroll us in school. There was a large public school just opposite our new home, but to my English mother that meant a Protestant school, and she was determined to enroll us in a parish school. It was almost the end of the first semester so we met with refusals from the first two Catholic schools. Nothing daunted, she asked an Irish traffic cop if he knew of any other Catholic school. We learned that the Capuchin Franciscans staffed the little German church and the School of Our Lady of the Angels just one block away.

We knew of Franciscans in England, but there were none where we lived. It was a moment of grace, for the Friars were to have great influence on our whole family through their kindness, solicitude and wonderful pastoral care. We were not treated as strangers by our schoolmates or neighbors but rather welcomed, and soon we felt quite at home.

I owe my vocation as a Poor Clare to the teaching and wonderful example of the Capuchin Friars. I will never forget their care for the parishioners and school children, their outreach to the poor, and this of any denomination. They reached out to everyone. I learned of their missionary zeal throughout the world when we joined the Holy Childhood Society. We used to save every penny we could, and when we reached a certain sum, we turned it into Sister. Then we had the joy of naming some child, in far off China or South America where the Friars had Orphanages. In our Readers in school, we learned about Francis and Clare. I would read about them later in life as a Poor Clare.

The Friars lived a gospel life and strove to attract people to Christ and His church. Like Francis and Clare they knew that this vision could only be lived in and through Christ by the grace of the Holy Spirit. They met Christ in their beautiful Liturgy, in the Scriptures, in their personal prayer and in Christ they experienced the unity of humanity.

On my first full day as a Postulant at the evening meal, the Testament of our Holy Mother Clare was read aloud. It seemed as though Clare herself and Francis were welcoming me home. When I heard the words: "and the Lord give us our blessed father Francis as a founder, planter and helper in the service of Christ" (Cl. Test. 59). I knew that I was where I wanted to be and the two friends of my childhood were indeed welcoming me. I was called as the Friars were to live an evangelical life. As Madge Karecki, SSJ-TOSF has so truly stated in an article on our Call to Contemplation: "It is a life that unfolds in two, directions: one interiorly through contemplation and exteriorly through mission. They are not opposing forces, but rather two foundation stones of our charism." (TAU March 2002). Our Apostolic mission is to pray and work for the soul of the world.

Sister Fidelis Hart, O.S.C.
New Orleans, Louisiana

“I beg you through great love to use with discretion the alms which the Lord gives you.” CantExh 4

Source: Sister Katherine, O.S.C. Wrapped in Joy: Franciscan Poor Clare Sisters Share Special Stories. Dallas, Texas: DWH Publishing, 2004.

For more about Sister Fidelis, go to: Our Lady of the Pearl and click "Fidelis" page on left.

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