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Jesus, Francis and Clare modelled deep inclusiveness; there was no room for categorising or judging people on the basis of race, colour, socio-economic background, age, ethnicity or faith tradition.  All were welcome.  St Clare, in the Rule of Life she wrote for her sisters says in Chapter 4: “The Abbess is bound to consult with all her sisters about anything that pertains to the good of the community for the Lord frequently reveals to the least amongst us what is best.”
Francis too, lived from this same principle.  He told his brothers that God had granted him the grace to obey a novice of one hour as eagerly as he would obey the oldest and most wise brother. (cf 2 Celano 151).  Whether we use the Gospel stories where Jesus welcomes all, especially those on the edge or St Paul’s image of the Body of Christ where each part is respected and needed for the good of the whole we see St Clare and St Francis mirroring these images in their day. They shared a vision for the whole of creation and all people as part of one connected inter-relational whole mirroring the goodness of God.
A modelling of inclusion rather than exclusion is urgently needed in our world today.  So often there is a strong sense of “us and them”, “insiders and outsiders”.  We talk about going to the margins or the peripheries rather than seeing ourselves as one with those we call marginalised or on the edge.  True inclusion is saying my life and your life are intrinsically inter-connected. We are called to ponder deeply and live from a place where we take seriously our shared reality as children of God who tread respectfully and lightly on this earth created by the same God for us all to share equally in its riches and gifts.

Artwork right: The Treasure’s Within ©Mary Southard Used with permission