Santa Clara in Katipunan has been one of my most favorite places to meditate and pray. Probably because it’s one of the many places in Manila which provides genuine peace and solitude.
I didn’t know much about Santa Clara until I did my research for writing this article. All I knew before was that she was a Franciscan and she founded the Poor Clares, period.
When I was in college, I’d visit her every Wednesday morning to hear the Holy Mass and talk to God. I even did the Novena every Wednesday when I was praying for a cum laude spot. I offered a dozen eggs every time I visited and prayed the Rosary.
It was a time of youthful confusion for me – graduating, getting a job, not knowing what’s ahead. Somehow, going there to pray eased my worries a bit – as if God was saying, everything’s going to be alright.
What’s Up with The Eggs?
It’s been a common tradition for people who visit Santa Clara to offer a dozen eggs.
Why a dozen eggs?
It was believed that offering an egg to the Santa Clara in exchange for a prayer petition would bring fair weather for a month. As there are 12 months in a year, it was also part of the tradition to offer a dozen eggs in order to have fair weather for the whole year.
Plus, It’s a bit absurd for a person to go to the Monastery and give only one egg at the Offertory Office.
Santa Clara de Assisi
While I was doing my research, I got a bit confused with Santa Clara’s name. Some called her Santa Clara de Assisi, while some called her Santa Clara de Montefalco. Are they the same saint? Why the two surnames?
Then I did a bit more reading and found out the root of the confusion.
Santa Clara de Assisi was the eldest daughter of Favarone, Count of Sasso-Rosso in Assisi, Italy. She was one of the first followers of Saint Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Poor Clares, and wrote the Rule of Life, the first set of monastic guidelines known to have been written by a woman.
Saint Clare of the Cross
The other Saint Clare was born in Montefalco, Italy. She was born in 1268 to very wealthy parents who built a hermitage in Montefalco – a hermitage is what we know today as a retreat house. It’s a building or settlement where a person or a group of people live religiously, in seclusion.
When she was 6 years old, she joined the Third Order of St. Francis – it’s a community of secular men and women, not necessarily priests and nuns – and adopted the Franciscan way of living.
Later on, the bishop established their monastery in Montefalco according to the Rule of St. Augustine. As such, she was an Augustinian nun and not a Franciscan.
What made her so special and got her name “Saint Clare of the Cross” was a vision that she had in 1294. In this vision, she saw Jesus as a pilgrim. She mentioned seeing Him really tired and being overwhelmed by the weight of the cross. She gestured to help Him carry it, then Jesus planted the base of the cross in her heart.
Monasterio de Santa Clara in Katipunan
The first Monastery of Saint Clare was actually somewhere far from Katipunan – it was founded in the walled city Intramuros in 1621.
A group of nuns of the Catholic Order of the Poor Clares established the monastery. This would later become the first Catholic Monastery in the Philippines.