1 (upper) and 2
Christian Rebels (2): St Clare
Set up two displays which will combine visually extreme poverty and a wealthy, maybe extravagant, lifestyle. The purpose is to emphasise those things that we take for granted as part of our everyday lives which yet, for others, will be absolute luxuries.
You may want to use items relevant to each key stage. It is a good idea to include items which pupils can relate to and there is a great deal of discussion to be had regarding what these might be. Here are some possible examples:
Simple food items
Ready-made meals etc.
Trainers, 'designer labels', brand label items
- Ask pupils to consider what items in their lives they believe to be too important to
- What makes their lives comfortable?
- How would their lives change without them?
- Under which conditions would they have to give something up or choose to give it up?
- Explain that these days we would still have a very comfortable life even if we gave up those things we thought to be crucial. However, it was not like that hundreds of years ago, in the Twelfth Century, as a young girl called Clare found out.
- Against everyone's wishes, and unusually so for girls of that time, she gave up everything to follow a monk called Francis who taught that people should live as Jesus had taught... giving up everything to follow Him and become like Him. But many people agreed with her and helped her.
- Despite her extreme beliefs in leading a harsh life, she was popular and loved by all as a kind and holy lady. Many people followed her and became nuns, living in the convent she founded.
- Clare even stood up to, rebelled, against the leader of the (Roman Catholic) Church, the Pope, by refusing to own lands and buildings for the convent. She believed that only absolute poverty would be approved of by God. She rebelled three times.
- Her convent grew and many gladly followed her 'rebellious' example to give up everything and follow Jesus.
Line up several items in order of chosen priority for essential living (maybe 10 maximum). Listen to Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong or The Living Years by Mike and the Mechanics. Gradually, one by one, remove items and ask pupils to think how it makes them feel. At which point did they feel they could not give up any more items?
Do the same with 'life essentials', e.g. water, bread, medicine, food, clothes, etc.
At the end, leave a minute or two for silence.
Let us desire nothing else
Let us want for nothing else
Than our creator, redeemer and saviour.
- Use a seach engine on the internet to find one of the many web sites for the 'Poor Clares'.
- Find out about life at the time of Clare, especially in about 1193. Clare died in 1253 after 30 years of illness.
- There is still an order of St Clare today. Find out about what its nuns do.
- For discussion:
- If people were to act today as Clare did, what would happen? Would it have any effect at all?
- Who might it affect most?
- Would absolute poverty be an asset or would it cause problems?
- What is poverty?