I knew Sister Clare when she was in the United States from 2007 to 2010. These were the years when my family first met the Home of the Mother, when I was five years old. She was always the leader of the group for little girls, so I spent every retreat and my first summer camp with her. Because I was young, I only have a few specific memories of her. I mostly remember a crazy and joyful sister who would play games with us, and could always make us laugh, but she also had such a love of Christ that made an impact on me.
A routine that was never forgotten at every retreat or camp was for the little girls to make big piles of sticks, pine needles, and pinecones, for “food for the bears” in the woods. Sr. Clare always encouraged us to do this, and if we found the pile scattered or messed up, we would run to her screaming our chant: “Sister Clare, Sister Clare, there’s a bear! There’s a bear!” She would always run with us to the bear food pile and we would speculate how big the bear probably was, and collect more “food.” This was such an important thing, that one year during a retreat our group was called “the Happy Pinecones.” Our group song consisted of singing over and over again that we were happy and holy pinecones, but it was so catchy that I remember it now, almost ten years later!
The year before her perpetual vows, she would often talk to me about it. She always called it her “wedding,” and would speak of it with so much excitement that it was infectious. I was so proud because she asked me several times to come to Spain to be the flower girl for her wedding. I wanted to so badly!
To me, and to all the little girls, her energy and ability to keep up with us never ended. I read now that she suffered from migraines with amazement because Sister Clare’s enthusiasm never ended around us, even with our crazy demands for games and begging her to speak in a heavy Irish accent! She was always an inspiration for me, and I am constantly asking for her to pray for me, that I may be like her, living out with joy her deep and profound love for Jesus Christ.