11 175th  birth anniversary of Mother Maria Clara, Foundress of FHIC - Sr. Maureen Fonseca, FHIC

posted Jun 6, 2018, 10:03 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 6, 2018, 10:04 AM ]
Saints were born when the Church needed them most; to perpetuate the teachings of Christ, according to the need of the hour. Though their early life seemed dubious in many ways, starting with the Apostles, St Paul, St Francis of Assisi, St Ignatius of Loyola - to name a few, the power of the Holy Spirit always generated the desired effect through them. This gave rise to so many Congregations of men and women down the centuries, which through their spirituality, were able to preserve the lustre of the Catholic faith.

The world today is a battle field where immigration, globalisation and de-personalisation stifle the personal dignity of humanity. This has always been the problem down the centuries, but ever since the French Revolution, it has taken a greater toll.

To counter-attack this, coupled with the outbreak of the cholera and jaundice epidemics in Portugal, which left numerous children orphaned and homeless, Hospitality was the need of the hour. God, in His divine providence, prepared a soul from the social and cultural milieu of nobility related to the Marquises of Tavora and Fronteira.

It is my privilege today to give you a brief summary of this heroic soul, whose name was Libania, born on June 15, 1843 in the city of Amadora, a suburban zone of Lisbon. She was the third of seven children. The personality of Libania was chiselled by cruelly painful events. Because of the epidemics, she was left an orphan at the age of 14.

After she lost all her siblings, Libania was invited to stay with the Marchioness of Valada, a great family friend. But Libania, only 14 years old, still maintained her independent personality and applied for legal emancipation on July 23, 1862. She was loved and well cared for by the Marchioness who, five years later, joined the cloistered convent in Paris. So Libania went to the Boarding at St Patricio. Two years later, she moved to the ‘Recolhimento dos Capuchinhas’ and received the habit in 1869 with the name of Sr Maria Clara do Menino Jesus. Soon after, she was sent to Calais, France, along with three companions, to continue their formation among the Franciscan Missionaries of our Lady.