“Poverty” in the Franciscan sense really means ‘non appropriation’ i.e. not clinging to anything as Jesus did not cling to his equality with God.
Central to Saint Clare and Saint Francis’ vision of life in community is the joyful poverty of the Gospel. For Poor Clares, this means communal poverty as well as individual. Community is an essential part of our form of life. We are to “live no longer for ourselves” but to serve the community. By giving everything we have and are, we live in a community dependent of God’s Providence. This is what is implied in our vowing to live “without possessing anything as my own”.
Throughout her life, Saint Clare and her sisters struggled to maintain this ideal in the life, against all opposition because it was thought impossible to live without dowries, endowments, etc. It was she who understood and observed St Francis’ ideal of poverty from which not even the request of the Pope could deter her. Because of her steadfastness, she was granted the ‘Privilege of Poverty’ by the Pope in 1216, which meant the privilege of living without property or privilege.
“Love one another with the love of Christ.
All the members of the community are equal because we are called to be sisters in fact and in name. We share in the common works of the monastery such as housework, cooking, gardening and the work we do to keep ourselves – mainly printing. The gifts of each sister are at the service of the community.
In her rule St Clare emphasises poverty, but always it is poverty for the love of him who was placed in a crib, lived poor in this world, and was naked on the cross where he died because of his love for us sinners. (taken from the Testament of St Clare)