The Poor Clares of Allariz, in western Spain, have given Pope Francis the finest hen from their farm, to be served as the main dish for his Christmas dinner.
“This is not just another hen; it is a poulard, a type of high-quality bird fed a special fodder and bred longer than normal, which gives the meat a more tender and flavorful quality,” Sister Maria Pureza, abbess of St. Clare monastery, told CNA by phone from her cloister Dec. 18.
The monastery is located on the Camino de Santiago in Galicia, about 80 miles southeast of Santiago de Compostela,
The Poor Clares at Allariz are devoted to prayer and contemplation and the sisters raise hens “with great love and care” as means of economic sustenance.
“It’s wonderful for us that the Pope has accepted this gift,”Sr. Maria Pureza said. “We are Poor Clares, daughters of St. Francis, the name the Pope bears, and we love his simplicity, his humility. Each day we are amazed at his homilies.”
The hen reserved for the Pope’s Christmas dinner was delivered to him after the General Audience on Dec. 18 by members of the cooperative Coren, which the nuns have worked with for over 50 years.
Because they are cloistered they could not be present themselves, but Sr. Maria Pureza emphasized that they “were present in prayer.”
Coren at the same time delivered another 1,600 pounds of chickens to Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, to be distributed to more than 200 needy families in Rome.
The nuns have a special admiration for the Roman Pontiff as he took his name for St. Francis of Assisi, their co-founder. For this reason, the day after Pope Francis was elected, they quickly sent a letter to the Vatican to congratulate the Holy Father and to assure him of their allegiance and admiration.
“We are very fortunate. Pope Francis is wonderful, wonderful,” Sr. Maria Pureza reflected.