Where could Christmas be more special than with the Sisters of St Francis? Preparations have been going on for weeks at the Clinton’s convent, where 96 members and their staff, family and friends are ready for Christmas Eve.Christmas eve they’ll have the traditional oyster stew, and the sisters have been baking cookies with help from friends and family. Sally Ann McCarthy works for the nuns though she’s not a member of the order, and she says today’s sisters are active in the community as well as the congregation. Clinton has a big fundraiser called “Community that Cares,” and the sisters took up a collection among themselves to give to the program, which benefits local children year-round. Of course, the high point of the season is tonight’s Christmas Eve mass in the convent’s chapel.The sisters prepared by keeping Advent, beginning the first week in December with a retreat in which many townspeople joined the sisters. St Francis, the founder of the order, was known for creating the first re-enactment of the manger scene, in a village in Italy, and the convent in Clinton has many nativity scenes on display.
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