EUK Mamie Foundation has published the first biography about Sr. Clare, entitled: Sister Clare Crockett: Alone with Christ Alone. The book was written by Sister Kristen Gardner, SHM, who was also responsible for the production of the documentary All or Nothing: Sister Clare Crockett.
The digital version on Amazon Kindle ($4.74) is now available as well.
The photos included in the book can be viewed or downloaded in color here.
The young Clare Crockett, who aspired to nothing less than walking down the red carpet in Hollywood, left all of her dreams aside on one Good Friday after an encounter with Christ Crucified. When she was seventeen years old, the Lord transformed her soul and she no longer desired to have anything other than the Love of Christ. The desire of her soul to belong to Christ alone –to live alone with Christ Alone– led her to consecrate her life in the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother and to give of herself with complete generosity.
Her overwhelming joy led many souls, especially of young people, to discover true happiness which can be found in God alone. Her coherent lifestyle and her total surrender in the apostolic works that she carried out in Spain, the United States and Ecuador, made the message very clear to all that God alone can satisfy the human heart.
On April 16, 2016, an earthquake in Ecuador caused the community’s house to collapse, which led Sr. Clare to her definitive encounter with Christ Alone.
“I am so, so, so happy! Even though there are days when many things are hard for me, it is worth giving one’s life to God, who is so great! This is what my heart has always desired and that no human love, plan or thing could ever fill.” -Sr. Clare Crockett, SHM
Sr. Clare was born on November 14, 1982 in Derry, Northern Ireland. She entered the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother on August 11, 2001, at the age of 18. She took her first vows on February 18, 2006, taking the religious name of Sr. Clare Maria of the Trinity and the Heart of Mary. She took her perpetual vows on September 8, 2010. From the moment of her first vows, she served in the Servant Sisters’ communities in Belmonte, Cuenca (Spain), Jacksonville, Florida (USA), Valencia (Spain), Guayaquil (Ecuador), and Playa Prieta, Manabí (Ecuador). She passed away during the earthquake in Playa Prieta on April 16, 2016.
The following testimony was written by Sr. Clare herself in 2014, and she entitled it, “What a movie!”
“I hope this testimony will help your soul and help you grow closer to God, because being close to Him, you will be truly happy…
When I was 16, a famous hypnotist came to my city. I had seen him on other occasions in past years and I really enjoyed his show. I wanted him to hypnotize me, too. Before the show started, the hypnotist told us that only certain people with a certain mental state could be hypnotized. Then, he told the audience—there were about 800 people—to do a simple hand exercise, and at the end of this exercise, those with their hands interlocked could go up on stage, because they were the ones who could be hypnotized. I was with a group of friends in one of the first rows of the theater. None of their hands had remained interlocked. Mine had not either but I pretended as if they were stuck together. All of my friends started shouting, “Go up on stage, Clare! He’s going to hypnotize you!” I went up along with about 30 other people. We got in a row facing the public. The hypnotist came up to each one of us and touched our foreheads with the palm of his hand, saying in a deep voice, “Relax!” I saw how some of them fell into the chair that had been placed behind them, in anticipation of this reaction. The hypnotist sent those who didn’t fall back to their places, while the audience gave them a compassionate applause, seeing how they would not be hypnotized. Then it was my turn. He did exactly the same thing to me and I “fell” into the chair behind me. “I’m completely conscious,” I thought. “I don’t feel hypnotized.” And the truth was, I was not hypnotized. On the count of three, the hypnotizer told us to open our eyes but that we would still be under the effect of I do not remember what. With his back turned to the audience, he winked at us saying, “So, you know what you have to do.” None of us there on stage had been hypnotized. Either they were all actors or they were people like myself, willing to play along with the show of this “legendary hypnotist.”
The audience was completely convinced that we had been hypnotized—just as I had been convinced, when I had been in the audience on previous occasions. The show reached its climax when “Mr. Relax” told us that he was going to give a gift to each one of us who had been hypnotized. Our gift was a “leprechaun” that only we could see and touch. Nobody else could. This leprechaun would be with us until noon the next day. When I came off stage, everybody started coming up to me to ask me questions about the leprechaun. “What is he wearing?” “Does he have a beard?” “What’s his name?” “Is he looking at me?” Everybody believed me. I went home with my leprechaun “Dominic” and I took him to High School with me, too. Even the strictest and toughest of my teachers ended up buying the story.
A few years later, I was home with my family and a few friends of mine. We were all there together in the kitchen, like good Irish people, drinking our cup of tea and having one of those typical conversations that starts with the question: “Remember when…?” followed by a roar of laughter and knee-slapping. Seeing as we were all in such a good mood, I piped in saying, “Remember when I pretended to be hypnotized and have a leprechaun?” Everyone stared at me and there was complete silence. “Remember?” I repeated with a nervous laugh. “No, No,” they responded, “you really did have a leprechaun, but since you were hypnotized you don’t remember anymore… But, you did. You had him in the palm of your hand.” Everyone started talking at once, trying to convince me that it had really happened.
I tell this story because when I realized that God was calling me to the religious life, nobody could believe that God would call a girl like me. For many, it was impossible that I could have a vocation. Yet somehow, they could believe I had a leprechaun. Chesterton once said, “When men choose not to believe in God, they then become capable of believing in anything.” What an amazing quote! And what a sad truth! God can call whomever He wants, whenever He wants, wherever He wants… Why? Because He is God. Our Founder wrote a poem entitled, “Why me?” that says, “I will no longer ask ‘Why me?’ I will simply recognize Your freedom and give You thanks unceasingly.”
The truth is that I never thought of becoming a nun. I thought of becoming a hundred other things... but never a nun! I come from a small corner of the world called Derry, in Northern Ireland. For political reasons, there is a strong division between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. When I was living in my country, this conflict and discord was clearly palpable. I have always lived in a predominantly nationalist area that fought for a free Ireland, which implied a complete breaking-off from Great Britain. Perhaps coming from such a radical and combative family and environment is what has always made me an “all or nothing” person. Although we were Catholic, we’ve never been fervent in the Faith. I received the sacraments of Baptism, Confession, Communion, and Confirmation, but I never understood—and I never really made an effort to understand—what I was receiving.
I do remember when I was six or seven years old and I went to church with my mom and my younger sisters. It was Lent, and all the statues were covered with purple cloth. We went up to the choir loft and there we saw the Stations of the Cross projected onto a white cloth in the sanctuary of the church. While they put up the images, “Jesus, Remember Me When You Come Into Your Kingdom,” was playing in the background. Although I was very young, everything that I saw and heard deeply touched me and I cried because I didn’t understand why they treated “that man” like that.
Thanks to the encouragement of my teachers, I began reciting poems at a young age in the “Feis Ceoil,” a traditional Irish festival that includes reciting poems, singing, Irish dancing, etc. I also started singing in a choir and writing stories. Perhaps because my family and teachers insisted that I was a “troublemaker,” I had the idea that I wanted to do something great with my life. I wanted to be an actress—not just any actress—but a famous actress!
When I was fourteen, I read an ad in the newspaper that basically said the following: “For all those aspiring actors who dream of one day appearing on the big screen: this workshop offers you the chance to gain the experience and expertise necessary for working in cinema or television.” I went to the workshop, and thanks to its success I joined an acting agency. I got my first job on Channel 4 in England when I was fifteen years old, then had a few small jobs as a television host, and when I was eighteen I had a small role in a film. I loved theater, just as much acting as writing, reading and directing. My goal was Hollywood… seriously. Why couldn’t it be? Furthermore, my mom's palm reader said that I would be (ahem, ahem).
I was a bit (or a lot) of a wild child. I wasn’t bad with my studies, but being there in school six hours a day seemed insane. The only subjects that I was passionate about were literature and theater. My formation as a Roman Catholic was appalling despite having received my education in a Catholic primary and secondary school. Some friends from my class attended a weekend youth retreat. When they returned from it, all they talked about was the retreat. To follow up with the young people who had gone, a youth group began to meet every Sunday. I had been invited to one of these retreats several times and in the end I went to one. I don't remember that much, but there is one thing that has always stuck with me. We had adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (I had no idea what that was). The Blessed Sacrament was exposed on the altar and under the monstrance there was a large picture of Jesus that read, “Jesus, Our Savior,” and I remember thinking, the same one who is in the box is in monstrance too? Is He looking at me? Is He listening to me? I think it was in the silence of that little oratory that I was aware for the first time that Jesus wanted to tell me something. As I made a lot of friends at the retreat they invited me to the group on Sundays. After a while, they asked me to give talks and be one of the group leaders at the other retreats. I was still really immature as far as my religious formation went. The truth is that I do not know what I talked about during the talks or what kind of example I gave, because I really had nothing to say. I really wanted to live to the fullest and do what I wanted to do in life, but God had no important role in my life at all.
Sadly, from the time I was young—about 12 or 13 years old—I started going to parties and clubs and put myself in a really bad, worldly environment. I smoked and drank. Alcohol began to be a problem for me and I was incapable of living without a pack of cigarettes.
When I was sixteen and had already done some work on television I began to experience an emptiness inside me and I didn’t understand what was going on. “This whole thing of being a host isn’t for me,” I thought, and I declined a job offer for a well-known channel, Nickelodeon. Around this time, a friend of mine called me on the phone inviting me to go to Spain. She told me that it was a free trip, someone out there had paid for young people to have the same good experience he had, etc., etc. While she was telling me all this I just thought: “Spain, free, sun, beach, party! Of course I'm going!” I sincerely thought that we were going to go to a tourist island like Ibiza, but this trip turned out to be a Holy Week encounter in a small town in Spain where there was no beach, no sun, no party or anything at all (with all due respect, Viva Priego!). The man who bought my ticket—by the way, I am immensely grateful to him because I’m here because of his generosity—met the Home of the Mother the year before when he attended the Holy Week encounter. He was impressed and wanted to take young people there so that they would have the same experience. The truth is that I don't know why they thought of me since I was very superficial and a wild child. When I found out that it was going to be a Holy Week encounter and that it was going to be in a monastery with nuns and priests, of course I was not happy about it. But I had to go because my name was on the plane ticket.
We landed in Spain, olé, olé! Thank God, in the group I had come with there were great people, including a man who helped me a lot, Paddy Mc Connell. I've always admired Paddy because he seemed like a man who believed and lived in what he was saying or singing. He had a lot of charisma with young people and was a man of a very tangible faith, a man of God.
During that Encounter, there were faith formation talks, team meetings, prayer, Mass... I only went to the things where I knew that if I did not go, someone was going to notice, for example, the team meetings. That is where I met, Fr. Rafael Alonso, our Founder. He was in my group. All of the girls in my group had great things to say about the Eucharist, which I think was the theme of the Encounter. When they asked me what I thought, I took the cigarette out of my mouth and said, "What's the Eucharist?" When they explained what it was to me, I did not experience any great enlightenment in the faith. I simply answered, "Ahhh."
Good Friday day arrived. I attended the Liturgy with a completely passive attitude. The moment came when all those who were in the church lined up in the central aisle of the church for the Adoration of the Cross. I saw that some genuflected and then kissed the feet of Jesus nailed to the Cross. It was the first time I saw something like that. I also got in line, not moved by any pious or fervent impulse. I just did it because it's what I had to do. When it was my turn, I got on my knees and kissed Jesus' feet. That simple event lasted only ten seconds. To kiss the Cross—something that seemed so insignificant—had such a strong impact on me. Tertullian once wrote: "There is nothing which leaves the minds of men so amazed as the simplicity of the divine actions which they see performed and the magnificence of the effects that follow." I do not know how to explain exactly what happened. I did not see the choirs of angels or a white dove come down from the ceiling and descend on me, but I had the certainty that the Lord was on the Cross, for me. And along with that conviction, I felt a great sorrow, similar to what I had experienced when I was little and prayed the Stations of the Cross. When I returned to my pew, I already had imprinted in me something that was not there before. I had to do something for Him Who had given his life for me.
Although I received this great grace, it is not that I immediately started doing penance and changing my life. Everything that someone says to Jesus when she has received a strong grace either in a retreat, on a pilgrimage, at an encounter—we say all this even with tears when we are “on top of Mount Tabor,”—we have to remember it, return it to say and live it when we "descend from the mountain", when we return to our daily lives, to our usual environment. St. Edith Stein said, "The Crucified One looks down on us and asks us whether we are still willing to honor what we promised in an hour of grace."
At the Holy Week Encounter, Fr. Rafael invited me to go to World Youth Day in Rome with the young people of the Home. It was the year 2000. I accepted the invitation even though I did not really know who John Paul II was nor what World Youth Day was. It was during that pilgrimage through Italy that the unmistakable voice of God began to speak within me again. I admit that I did not live that trip very well. I was more interested in going to the shops in Italy than the churches and cathedrals. But, is it not true that the Good Shepherd left the ninety-nine sheep in search of the one wandering sheep? Well, He did the same with me. He searched for me until He found the perfect moment to say to me, "I want you to live like them." "They” were the sisters, and to live “like them” meant being a nun! I turned up the volume of the music I was listening to on the bus, to drown everything out and not pay attention to what God was asking of me. The Lord did not compete with my music. He didn't yell at me, He just repeated the same phrase. I started thinking about everything I would have to leave: my dreams, the parties, my boyfriend… the list seemed endless and of course this followed with “I can't live this life, that's impossible for me, etc. etc. etc. ” And yet, the Lord assured me that if He asked for something, He always gives the grace and the strength to be able to carry it out. Without His help, I never could have done what I had to do to respond to His call and follow Him. Young people often ask, “How do you know if you have a vocation?” I will use the words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta when they asked her the same thing: “When a girl hears the call, she knows it. Maybe she doesn’t know how to explain it, but she knows it.”
Sr. Clare on the pilgrimage in 2000
When I returned to my country, I continued to live as before (yes, ladies and gentlemen…) “But I fall back again into the things below, by the weight of my misery; and am again engulfed in the things I am accustomed to, and am held fast by them” (St. Augustine). However, I could never forget the sisters. It seemed absurd to me, there I was, surrounded by people, going from party to party, very involved in the acting world, and I could not stop thinking about the nuns. Little by little, everything that before I thought made me happy stopped having meaning, and I experienced a deep feeling of emptiness.
One night when I was partying with my friends, the Lord said to me, “Why are you still hurting me?” I understood that by my way of life and lack of response to what the Lord was asking of me, I was harming myself and also hurting God. It was not until I went to England to record the film that I deeply experienced the great cavity that was in my soul. Despite being with famous people, eating in expensive restaurants, staying in I-don't-know-how-many-star hotels, I really felt that that I had everything in my hands, and at the same time I was a poor miserable, girl who had nothing. Everything that I thought was going to make me happy and free only tied me down and deceived me. It was then that I said to God, “That's enough!” The peace that I have found with You and in the Home, I can’t find anywhere else. I have to take this step and it's now or never.” What St. Bonaventure said is true: Voluntas Dei, pax nostra: The will of God is our peace.
I think you can imagine the reaction of everyone when I told them that I had a vocation and that I wanted to leave everything to give myself to the Lord completely... “You're crazy!” There, another type of movie began, but the important thing is that I knew—with a strength that didn't come from me—what I had to do. Years later, when one of my cousins saw me, I had already been wearing a habit and was close to taking my final vows. He said, “Clare, I knew you before you became a nun, and now when I see you, I can only say that you are crazy or that God really exists.” Isaiah 55:8 says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord.” God knows what He is doing. We only have to trust in Him.
Honestly, the vocation to the religious life is such a great gift that it confuses the person chosen. God fixes His gaze on a poor soul so that she can live with Him and in Him, and in that way help Him save the world. That really is crazy… but, blessed craziness! We would be crazy if we did not respond to what God asks of each one of us, because what He asks is the best for us. We have been created for great things, not for comfort.
I finish with a few words that Pope Benedict XVI said with a lot of fervor and strength at his first Mass as successor to Peter:
“Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to Him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? And once again the Pope [John Paul II] said: No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great.”
I attest to that. Viva the Lord! Viva the Virgin! Viva the Pope! And... vivan the nuns!
You have to say: Viva!
Sr. Clare Mary of the Trinity and the Heart of Mary
Sr. Clare was born on November 14, 1982, in Derry, Northern Ireland. She entered the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother on August 11, 2001, at the age of 18. She took her first vows on February 18, 2006, taking the religious name of Sr. Clare Maria of the Trinity and the Heart of Mary. She took her perpetual vows on September 8, 2010. From the moment of her first vows, she served in the Servant Sisters’ communities in Belmonte, Cuenca (Spain), Jacksonville, Florida (USA), Valencia (Spain), Guayaquil (Ecuador), and Playa Prieta, Manabí (Ecuador). She passed away during the earthquake in Playa Prieta on April 16, 2016.
Clare Crockett was born in a Catholic family. She received the Sacraments of Christian Initiation, but, during her teenage years, she no longer frequented the Church.
In Holy Week of the year 2000, at 17 years of age, she arrived at a Home of the Mother Retreat. She seemed both joyful and superficial. She was looking for sun and boys in Spain, and she found herself with a group of people who were celebrating intensely the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Our Lord.
That was not what she was expecting. From her childhood, she had always dreamt of becoming a movie star, and she was working her way towards that dream. She knew that she had qualities: a great artistic talent, a beautiful voice, an attractive physical aspect, and an astounding personality. At the age of 15, she had already been contracted to host a show for young people on Channel 4 – one of the biggest in the United Kingdom - and at the age of 17, the American channel Nickelodeon had shown interest in her.
She spent the first days of the Holy Week Encounter sun bathing and smoking. On Good Friday, someone said to her, “Clare, today you have to go into the chapel. It’s Good Friday.” She went into the chapel, but she stayed in the last pew. During the Good Friday liturgy, the faithful adore and kiss the Crucifix. Clare joined them. It was a simple gesture, but it was a changing point in her life. When the service was over, a sister found her crying as she repeated, “He died for me. He loves me! Why hasn’t anyone ever told me this before?” Clare had understood how much the Lord loved her and how much He had done for her. She understood that “Love is repaid by love alone,” and that the love the Lord asked of her meant a complete donation.
It was not easy to take the step. When she went back to Ireland, she participated as a secondary actress in the filming of “Sunday,” directed by Charles McDougall. She got caught up again in the whirlwind of superficiality and sin that the world of cinema offered her. She expressed herself in these terms, “I lived very badly; I lived in mortal sin. I drank a lot, I smoked a lot, I began to smoke drugs. I continued with my friends, with my boyfriend. I continued in the same way. I didn’t have the strength to break with all these things, because I didn’t ask the Lord to help me.”
However, the Lord insisted on “pursuing” her. One night, at a party, she overdrank once again. When she was vomiting in the bathroom, she felt that Jesus said to her, “Why do you continue to hurt me?” God’s presence was so strong that she could not ignore it. Not long after, she was in her room in an important London hotel, reading her taping schedule for the next day. She felt such a great emptiness that she realized that her life had no meaning if she did not give it to Jesus Christ. Neither her family’s pleas, nor her manager’s promises could stop her. On August 11, 2001, she gave her life to God as a candidate in the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother.
Clare had to change many things in her life. With the bloody struggles for Northern Ireland’s independence from the United Kingdom, the difficult atmosphere in Derry, her hometown, had wounded her heart deeply. This was the first wound in need of healing. Yet Clare had surrendered to Jesus Christ’s immense love for her, and there was nothing that would stop her. She herself explained, “At first, I was tempted to look back and say, ‘I want it back.’ But I understood that I had found an even greater love.”
Following her years as a candidate and novice, she took her first vows on February 11, 2006. During the month-long spiritual exercises that she made during her novitiate, she received a grace to comprehend what the Lord had said one day to Saint Catherine of Siena: “You are the one who is not, and I am He who is.” It was something that transformed her interiorly and helped her, as she matured humanly and spiritually, to put the many gifts with which she was endowed at the Lord’s service for evangelization.
When she was still very young and with many things to learn, she arrived at her first assignment in the community at Belmonte, in Cuenca, Spain. There, the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother direct a residence for girls that come from families in difficulty. It is hard work, because the girls arrive from difficult family situations that mark them painfully. Sr. Clare began to show her special gift to reach the souls of children and young people, teaching them the truth and the love of the Lord, guiding them in the personal process to heal their interior wounds. Her zeal for souls, especially those of the youth, was immense.
Sr. Clare spent only a few months in that house, because she was sent to the new community that was about to be opened in the United States, in Jacksonville, Florida, in October 2006. The sisters began pastoral work at Assumption Parish and School. The parish priest, Fr. Fred Parke, explains, “The children picked up on the enthusiasm that she had for the Eucharist. She overflowed with enthusiasm for the Lord. Once you had been with her, you knew you had to pick up that same enthusiasm. It was so catchy.”
On September 8, 2010, Sr. Clare came back to Spain from the United States to make her perpetual vows.
Afterwards, she was sent to the community that the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother were opening in Valencia, Spain. Her superior, Sr. Isabel Cuesta, remembers: “Sr. Clare had just taken her perpetual vows. She had given herself completely to Lord and she did so with all her strength. (…) There was an example that Sr. Clare used a lot, which helped her to place her life in God’s hands. It was the example of a ‘blank check.’ Each day she would give a blank check to the Lord, so that He could ask of her whatever he wanted.” In Valencia, Sr. Clare’s main apostolate was attending the spiritual needs of terminally ill patients in the Hospital in Mislata. It was a difficult apostolate, and it required a constant self-forgetfulness to try and understand the heart of each patient to guide them in the last moments of their lives.
In 2011 Sr. Clare returned to Belmonte. This time her superior was Sr. Ana Maria Lapeña, who very accurately sums up Sr. Clare’s spirituality in these words, “She gave everything with a great sense of humor.” Sr. Ana Maria admires to this day Sr. Clare’s obedience and affirms, “I still do not know what things she liked to do and what things were hard for her. I could never tell. And when I would ask her to do something, her answer was always, ‘Of course!’ And on top of that, she was always observing to see what was needed and so offer to help. At the end of that year I thought to myself, ‘I want to learn how to obey like her.’”
In October of 2012, Sr. Clare received a new destination where she would be able to put into practice her potential for evangelization: Ecuador. She was sent to the recently founded community in Guayaquil. The Servant Sisters had only been in Guayaquil for one year. The Sisters there give classes in a few different schools in very poor areas, and they work in a parish, evangelizing the youth and children. They put on retreats, summer camps, weekly formation meetings, etc. There was a lot of work to be done, and the excruciating Ecuadorian heat, in addition to the various tropical diseases she suffered, was exhausting. Sr. Clare herself talked about the disposition she had when she reached Ecuador. “When I arrived in Ecuador, we were listening to the life of John Paul II, and in one of his apostolic visits they asked him, ‘Holy Father, are you tired?’ and he answered, ‘The truth is…I don’t know.’ It was my first week here in Ecuador and I wanted to use that quote from John Paul II not as my motto, but as my way of life here. Sometimes you get tired, of course! Work tires you out, but even though I am tried, I hope to not feel sorry for myself and to keep giving.”
Two years later, Sr. Clare was sent on a mission to another community in Ecuador: Playa Prieta. There the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother run a school, the Holy Family Educational Center, where poor children can receive a high quality, Catholic education, thanks to the sponsorship of many benefactors. After the intense school day is over and the extracurricular activities have finished, the Sisters find time to work in the parish and to attend to many poor families. Under the scorching sun or in the torrential rains, the Sisters visit the impoverished houses in the rural area to evaluate the basic needs of each family and thus be able to give them Jesus Christ and the hope of Eternal Life, together with food baskets, medicine, and many other solutions to their material problems.
Several times throughout the year, the Communities of Servant Sisters and Brothers of the Home of the Mother, along with a group of young people, would visit Puyo, located in the Ecuadorian Amazon, to evangelize. Sr. Clare also took part, trekking for hours through the treacherous paths with mud up to her knees and crossing the tributaries of the Amazon with water up to her chest, until she reached the humble villages of the Shuar, the greatly feared “Jivaroans” of long ago. The Shuars live in small communities of no more than thirty people. They cultivate the land with ancestral methods and live in great poverty. Sometimes the Sisters reached villages where the indigenous had never heard the Gospel and still practiced polygamy. There was practically no knowledge of the faith even in the villages which had occasionally received a visit from a priest and whose inhabitants were baptized.
Everyone always remembers Sr. Clare with a guitar in her hand, her great companion in evangelization. They remember her singing and singing, even to the point of losing her voice, and, even then, she continued to sing, in spite of the heat, fatigue, and migraines. Her way of singing reflected the way she lived. Sr. Kelly Maria Pezo recalls, “When she sang, she kept nothing back. And when she lived, she kept nothing back.” Despite the hustle and bustle and joy that always surrounded her, as the years passed by, Sr. Clare’s need for silence and moments to be alone with the Lord increased.It was evident to the Sisters to what extent Sr. Clare was giving of herself. To her, nothing seemed enough for Christ. This is shown in an e-mail she wrote to the founder of the Servant Sisters, Fr. Rafael, on April 8, 2015: “Even though Good Friday is a sad day, I don’t know how to explain the joy and enthusiastic desire I have to suffer for the Lord. Everything seems little to me: the lack of sleep, fasting, the heat, having to attend to the people… Everything that could be difficult fills me with joy, because it brings me closer to the Lord… I spent a good amount of time in front of the cross asking for the grace to never, never forget everything that the Lord and Our Lady have suffered for me.”
The earthquake that put an end to the lives of Sr. Clare and other five young aspirants, began at 6:58 P.M. on Saturday, April 16, 2016. Due to the strong floods that in the previous days had devastated Playa Prieta, the Sisters had lived a very difficult week. Just two weeks before the start of a new school year, they found themselves with a school that was in a state of total disaster: all of the classrooms were flooded; the recently painted walls, chairs, tables, doors, and a large quantity of teaching materials were destroyed by the water, because the Sisters had not had time to rescue them. For that reason, as soon as the water level began to recede, the Sisters got busy cleaning and trying to fix the disaster. They worked with joy and generosity. The work was hard, because, as the water subsided, it left several layers of mud. They were also worried about the many poor families in the area that had lost everything, or almost everything, as a result of the floods. In the face of an extreme situation, they reacted with total donation. Contemplating the events in hindsight, it seemed as though the Lord was preparing them.The earthquake began shortly after they had come back from Mass at the village’s parish. It was already dark. Sr. Clare and the group of young women who passed away were on the first floor. They had had guitar class and were about to pray the Rosary with the rest of the sisters and girls. The heavy quake caused the building to collapse, with four Sisters and seven girls inside. Only five were rescued alive. Curiously enough, they had been talking about death during lunch that very day. Very convinced, Sr. Clare had said, “Why should I be afraid of death, if I’m going to go with the One I have longed to be with my whole life?”
To our surprise, the news of Sr. Clare’s death began to circulate on the mass media worldwide. We began to receive messages of prayer and support, but above all, testimonies of people who had been touched by Sr. Clare’s story and had decided to return to the Sacraments and to live their faith with greater intensity.
- Home of the Mother (2016). Cantabria, Spain. Sister Clare. www.hermanaclare.com/en
- EUK Mamie Foundation (2018). All or Nothing: Sr. Clare Crockett (Documentary). Spain. (https://www.sisterclare.com/multimedia/film)
- Earthquake in Ecuador (2016, April 20). Official Website of the Home of the Mother. Cantabria, Spain. (https://www.homeofthemother.org/news/2016/1263-april/7471-earthquake-in-ecuador)
- Sr. Clare’s Testimony in Video (2016, April 25). Official Website of the Home of the Mother. Cantabria, Spain. (https://www.homeofthemother.org/news/2016/1263-april/7515-sr-clare-s-testimony-in-video)
- Fr. Colum Power, SHM (2016, April 21). Sr. Clare Crockett: God’s Triumph over Circumstance.
Official Website of the Home of the Mother. Cantabria, Spain. (https://www.homeofthemother.org/news/2016/1263-april/7493-gods-triumph-over-the-circumstances)
- José Luis Restán (2016, April 28). “El ciento por uno de Clare”. Revista Ecclesia. Madrid, Spain. (http://www.revistaecclesia.com/ciento-uno-clare-jose-luis-restan/)
- Cristina López Schlichting (2016, April 30). “Cambió una vida de película por la entrega a los demás”. Fin de semana de la Cadena COPE. Madrid, Spain. (http://www.cope.es/detalle/la-hna-clare-muerta-en-ecuador-cambio-una-vida-de-pelicula-por-la-entrega-a-los-demas-.html?id=2016043011310001)
- “Il sacrificio di suor Clare” (2016, April 20). Rivista Tracce. Milan, Italy. (http://www.tracce.it/?id=371&id_n=53711)
- Nicola Ferrante (2016, April 21). “Terremoto Ecuador. Suor Clare”. News Tv2000. Rome, Italy. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwhpBAMkmKY)
- “Mass for nun Clare Crockett killed in Ecuador earthquake” (2017, April 18). BBC. London, United Kingdom (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-foyle-west-39627149)
- Una larga ovación a la vida de la hermana Clare (2018, April 24). Pontifical Mission Societies. Madrid, Spain. (https://www.omp.es/una-larga-ovacion-a-la-vida-de-la-hermana-clare/)
- Fernández González, Concha (May-August 2018). “Clare Crockett”. Revista Super Gesto. Pontifical Mission Societies. Pgs. 14-15. No 136. Madrid, Spain.