January 13, 1381
, Colette grew up in the shadow of the local Benedictine monastery where
her father worked as a master carpenter.
Even as a child, she was known for her love of Jesus, especially in
the mysteries of His Passion, and for her devotion to the liturgical life
of His Church.
the death of her parents, feeling called to a life of total consecration
to God, Colette set out to discern her vocation.
Deeply attracted by the Franciscan ideal, she made Profession as a
Tertiary and then, after much difficulty, received permission from the
Benedictine abbot who was her guardian to become a recluse. Living
enclosed in a small anchorhold attached to the local church, Colette gave
herself to prayer and penance.
God had other plans in mind for the anchoress of Corbie. He revealed to
her not only the state of the Franciscan Order but also His plan to return
it to its original fervor.
Lord showed 24-year-old Colette that she was to be His instrument,
chosen to restore St. Clare’s religious family. Human fear and
resistance yielded to divine insistence when Colette made her great act of
surrender: Dear Lord, I am Your little
she began nearly forty years of self-sacrificing labors in a land riven by
the Hundred Years’ War and the Great Western Schism.
When she died on
March 6, 1447
, God’s little handmaid had founded or restored 22 monasteries which
followed the primitive Rule of St. Clare, and Constitutions which Colette
herself had composed.
legacy lives on today in the Poor Clare monasteries that trace their roots
to the Colettine reform.
text of St. Colette’s Dedication Prayer, which she so faithfully and
fruitfully lived, has come down to us, a witness to what God can do when
we give Him our all:
blessed Jesus, I dedicate myself in health,
in illness, in my life, in my
in all my deeds, in all my desires,
so that I may never work henceforth except for Your glory,
for the salvation of souls and for that for which You have chosen me.
From this moment on, dearest Lord,
there is nothing I am not prepared to
undertake for love of You.