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Andrea Stans (right) and her family

Andrea Stans:  She was always surrounded by kids and youth. She was like a magnet to bring them to Jesus and Mary. She led us to God and Mary through music.

Andrea Stans is from Manabí, Ecuador, and currently lives in the US with her three brothers. They were adopted by an American family after the earthquake in 2016. She met Sr. Clare in 2015 at Holy Family Educational Center in Playa Prieta. Sr. Clare was her English teacher and spiritual guide.

There are four of us. Jesús and Jonathan are twins who have intellectual disabilities and speech apraxia. Manuel and I were born in Manabí, Ecuador. We reached the orphanage “Casa Hogar de Belén” in 2008. We used to go to school at Holy Family Educational Center, and the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother helped us with scholarships. That was where we met Sr. Clare.

I would describe Sr. Clare as a person who was always happy, had a huge smile on her face, joked, was generous, very good-hearted, always wanted others to know God and Our Lady, a person who always spread love and joy, humble, attentive to others’ needs, forgetful of herself. I always saw her dedicating herself to others, she did everything for love of God and the Virgin Mary. She was a very positive, charismatic and strong person, who corrected you with love for your own good. She was very clear when she spoke. I remember that she always told me not to feel sorry for myself in difficult situations, but to be strong and face them with God’s help and with Our Blessed Mother. She always put God first.

I remember how everyone wanted to be around her because she spread a lot of love and joy. One day we were talking during recess—she was my spiritual guide—and we literally had to talk while we ran to the sisters’ house because a bunch of kids were behind us chasing her. She said, “We’ll talk later,” and went to get her books for the next class. That’s how it always was: She was always surrounded by kids and youth. She was like a magnet to bring them to Jesus and Mary. She led us to God and Mary through music. I have a lot of memories of her singing until she lost her voice. She didn’t say no when people asked her to play, because she did it all for God’s glory. That surprised me a lot. I could see her great love for God and Our Blessed Mother, and the sacrifices she made. Her example of love and sacrifice to glorify God always helped me and still helps me in life. 

Sr. Clare and Andrea's brothersThe heroic virtue I could see in Sr. Clare was charity. She dealt with everyone lovingly, even though she did not know them. She made them feel loved. Personally, she made me feel God’s and Our Lady’s love. Her immense love helped me a lot when my mom lost custody of my brothers and me, and when the process of looking for a family for the four of us started. Sr. Clare knew that my greatest desire was for us four siblings to stay together, even though it was almost impossible. She didn’t know me that well at first, but when she became my spiritual guide she slowly helped me understand my mom more lovingly, her situation, and why God had let all of that happen as well as the grace of being in the orphanage “Hogar de Belén” and the Home of the Mother. This is how I see these 10 years I was in “Hogar de Belén”: a grace and God’s love for me. Of course the Home is a giant grace in my life.

My brothers remember that Sr. Clare helped them a lot to obey, be good and play the guitar. She took them to the chapel, taught them to love Our Lady and always made them laugh. They say she was always happy. They love music, and since Sr. Clare played the guitar and sang, they loved being with her. I saw that they were very happy and noticed that Sr. Clare did them a lot of good.

On my birthday, in January, I was in class. All of a sudden, Sr. Clare interrupts class with my brothers to surprise me! They made very cute birthday cards with Sr. Clare’s help—I still have them. It was very beautiful. It was one of the most special and beautiful moments of my life. I will never forget it! My brothers were also very happy and everyone started singing happy birthday!

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