Can St. Clare’s Palm Sunday Event Mean Something for Young People Today

by Sister Julie Ann on April 17, 2011

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity celebrated an 800th anniversary event in the life of St. Clare of Assisi with the UW Superior Newman community at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Superior, WI. It was on Palm Sunday, March 28, 1211 when Clare left her paternal house to begin a new way of life under the direction of St. Francis and the first brothers.

What did this current day celebration include?

  1.  All reflected on selected scriptural texts on the theme of Gospel Discernment as part of a reflection day.
  2. Retreatants contemplated an article by Noel Muscat OFM who looked to Assisi historian Arnaldo Fortini, an authority in the study of the ancient mediaeval documents pertaining to the 13th century setting,  and the sources themselves to understand what actually occurred during the night of Palm Sunday 800 years ago.  (Follow this link to read the article yourself.) This reading notes that Clare received a palm from Bishop Guido according to the Middle ages liturgical rite used on the morning of Palm Sunday. It is thought that the ecclesial leader used the act of giving the green branch as a sign of approval for Clare’s desire to go forward in her resolve to follow St. Francis and consecrate her life to God.
  3. Ritualizing the significance of this gesture for today, Franciscan Sisters Mary Ann Spanjers and Julie Ann Sheahan presented a palm to the young people before the Saturday evening Palm Sunday liturgy. This action and a blessing crafted to fit each person hoped to offer support and affirm the Holy Spirit’s direction in their lives at the present time.

What does the receiving of the palm mean for you?

5 thoughts on “Can St. Clare’s Palm Sunday Event Mean Something for Young People Today”

  1. Sister Mary Ann says:

    Every time Sister Julie Ann and I venture into places with young adults/university students we are given surprise gifts from the Holy Spirit! The experience of sharing this palm Sunday weekend with those in Superior and Duluth again showered spiritual and physical (snow) gifts upon us! The most touching for me was the humble faith of the young people and adults! Their openness and desire for a deep relationship with Jesus draws me closer to Him as well!

  2. Ssharon says:

    Sounded like you all had a meaningful day with the UW Superior Newman Community with the scripture meditations and the significance of the palm branch. I didn't know of the connection of the palm branch in St. Clare's life. Very interesting. To me, receiving the Palm branch is kind of a mixture of joy & sadness. Joy, because Jesus riding on the donkey and entering triumphantly into Jerusalem signifies celebration as we say: “Hosanna to the Son of David.” “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” Sadness because it is preparing oneself for reflecting on the final week of Jesus' life and death. But, JOY again, for His great gift of the EUCHARIST and then His glorious Resurrection. A parallel to our life, the palm & the ashes: “You are dust and unto dust you will return.” On the last day “you will arise and go to the Father.”

  3. E. says:

    I came to this retreat to continue my learning of our faith and o fall the Holy People that have given so much to it.

  4. B. says:

    Time to slow down and focus on Christ in preparation for Holy Week.
    Time to count blessings and thank God

  5. J. says:

    I came to this retreat because I love the Sisters and sharing faith with one another. I came mainly to become closer to Christ, especially during this time of year. I need to go to confession and I want to spend time with Jesus at Mass.

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