Sister Kathleen Delancey takes solemn vows, joins Poor Clares

GREENVILLE — Sister Kathleen Delancey took solemn vows and became part of the contemplative Order of Poor Clares at the Monastery of St. Clare on Oct. 4. The monastery now has 16 active nuns.

Sister Kathleen, 54, was a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Baltimore for 25 years before she discerned her vocation to join the Poor Clares.

“I just felt God calling me more into a contemplative life,” she said in a recent telephone interview with The Miscellany. “I did this on God’s initiative.”

Sister Kathleen is a native of Garfield, N.J., and moved to Baltimore with her family when she was four. She joined the Franciscan sisters at age 24, and said she spent 25 years in that order serving the poor in a variety of ways, including social work. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Towson State University in Towson, Md.

“Sister Kathleen adds much to our community with her talents and commitment to our life,” said Sister Carolyn Forgette, abbess of St. Clare. “We are blessed to continue to have new professions in our community, which is a vital one and growing.”

Sister Carolyn said some women visited the monastery earlier this month on a discernment weekend, and another woman joined the community as a postulant on Sept. 17.

Sister Kathleen said she came to Greenville in 2001 to begin the process of joining the Poor Clares, which included a two-year novitiate.

“The process is a combination of study and osmosis, of learning the day-to-day monastic life that is the Poor Clare life,” she said.

She said her mother and brother, who now live in Florida, were surprised when she first told them she was joining a contemplative order, but they have been extremely supportive of her during her transition.

“The reason they’ve been supportive is because they saw I was so happy,” Sister Kathleen said. “This is a furtherance of my ministry to the poor.”

The women religious at the Monastery of St. Clare carry on the primary mission of the Order of the Poor Clares, which is praying constantly for the needs of the poor, for the church and for others around the world.

The sisters live a cloistered, monastic life, with a daily schedule that follows the Liturgy of the Hours and involves communal prayer seven times a day. The monastery supports itself by distributing altar breads to parishes and churches and by producing prayer cards.