St. Clara’s Church

The Christians of Assonora remained under Thivim from the inception. In course of time a chapel dedicated to St. Clara of Assisi was erected. Msgr. Gomes Catao relates the following as its origin: Tradition relates that a Franciscan Friar after having spent the greater part of his life in the mission of the Ghats, on his return to Goa, was taken up with the healthy situation of the village of Assonora and charmed with the picturesque beauty of the place, he wanted to rest there from his labours. On the spot where the present Church stands, he built a modest house, with a chapel attached to it, with the intention of continuing his apostolic work there. It was definitely built before 1768. Unfortunately the records do not give the name of this Friar.

At this time the Portuguese were constantly at war with the Bounsulo (Maratha Chieftain of Sawantwaddi) and other Maratha chieftain of Karveer (Malwan) and Kolapur. Since Assonora is situated to the North-East  of Bardez, it lay on the border, as at that time, most of the territory of the talukas of Pernem, Satari and Sanquelim was ruled by those chieftains. During these battles, therefore, the chapel of Assonora was burnt down in 1781, the villagers rebuilt it with slightly bigger dimension and extended still more the next time in 1784. By that time, the above three talukas had been conquered by the Portuguese and become the territory, as mentioned above.

The Chapel of Assonora was dismembered from the Thivim Parish and constituted into an independent Parish Church by PROVISION of the Archbishop of Goa, D. Frei Manoel de Santa Catharina, dated 18-10-1805 and confirmed by Royal Decree dated 17- 5-1809. The original patroness of the Chapel St. Clara  of Assisi, continues as the Patroness of the Parish.

The Anuario of the Archdiocese of Goa of the year 1926 states that the Catholic population of the Parish numbered 2154 souls in total population of 3240 inhabitants. However, the Catholic population has diminished after the liberation of Goa in 1961, due to migration of Catholics from the village in search of better prospects elsewhere. For the Directory of Archdiocese for the year 2000 gives the Catholic population of the parish as only 890. This number may be too low, as according to the information provided by the Parish Priest there are about 1300 Catholics in the Parish. Besides other pious Association of the faithful, the Charismatic movement picked up in the Parish, due to the dynamic leadership of then Parish Priest, Fr. Savio D’Souza.

There is also a convent of poor Sisters of Our Lady(PSOL) who run the St. Clara’s High School in Parish and assist the Parish Priest in the various apostolics activities of the church. There are also two chapels in the parish: Our Lady of Health, Par and St. Michael the Archangel, Mount, Ambexim.

st clara church front view old