Our Holy Father St. Francis and Holy Mother St. Clare looked on work as a gift of God and spoke of it as a special grace. The Poor Clare approaches this “grace of working” with the spirit of a poor person, not in search of security, but rather in union with the poor Christ of Nazareth, and also in solidarity with the poorest of the poor, to experience at least in part, the difficulties of life which so many of her brothers and sisters face every day. The Poor Clare undertakes with joy any work of the monastery whatever, no matter how humble or burdensome, and labors faithfully and devoutly before God to carry out the duties and tasks committed to her. By being faithful to the humble tasks of daily life, she enters more deeply into the mystery of the self-emptying of Christ who, though he was Master and Lord, came to serve and not to be served.
By living in a spirit of willing and joyful penance the Poor Clare strives to put on Christ and walk in newness of life so that she can live with great authenticity the meaning of her profession. The penance of the Poor Clare has many dimensions. There is the need for the surrender of living in faith, rarely seeing the fruit of her life’s commitment. There is the radical separation from family and friends, from worldly comforts and pleasures demanded by the life of enclosure. Fasting and other forms of mortification according to places and times are undertaken in common as a sign of the Poor Clare’s participation in the Passion of Christ and to identify with his members who are suffering from hunger, poverty, pain and hardships. Silence is another external discipline, which frees the Poor Clare for the fulfillment of her vocation. Thus, Holy Mother St. Clare taught her sisters: “Drive away every noise from the dwelling place of your mind, that you may cling in the depths of your heart to God alone.” Silence is of the very essence of the contemplative life.