One of the mistakes “normal people” like me often commit is that of always waiting until “the right moment” to do something, do say something, do make a move, to run and embrace… I’m speaking about “normal people” because I have also had the opportunity to meet “extraordinary people” who never wait around for the right moment to appear. And I am now discovering- as a “normal person”- that once again I find myself with my hands full of things that I haven’t done yet. And I have a ton of words in my mind that will end up making me cry because I will no longer be able to say them, because I was waiting for the right moment that will now never arrive.
It’s hard for me to write these lines. What an impact losing someone makes on us! And even more so when there’s no warning ahead of time that they’re leaving, when you weren’t able to tell them how happy you were that they formed part of your path. Still more when it’s a new path and you see how necessary their presence was for you, and now you can’t tell them how much you owe to them.
Sr. Clare during the Holy Week Encounter in Ecuador
I remember Easter Sunday in the last Holy Week Encounter. Sr. Estela asked me how my experience had been during the encounter. I could only respond, with tears in my eyes and a trembling voice that I had never seen so many happy people before. At first, I couldn’t find the motive for their happiness, but as time passed, I was able to discover it more and more. They are happy because they are with the ones they love, and their life is dedicated to the ones they love: Jesus and the Virgin Mary.
I’m sorry if it’s not very appropriate to talk about happiness in these moments, but if I could write a dictionary, in the word “happy,” I would attach a picture of Sr. Clare. Since the day I met her, she made a significant impact on me. I wanted to hold on to every word she spoke, and although the memory fails us sometimes, the heart never fails and I keep them deep within me. When Sr. Clare said one day that we should seek Jesus above all things, it really struck me. How could it not? I was about to make an appointment with a psychologist, become Buddhist and start my life all over again. I knew God existed, but I was embarrassed to walk into a church to pray, to ask Him for something, offer Him or thank Him for something. She was one of the people who taught me that God’s arms are so long that they embrace everyone who needs Him. I asked her if God forgives even the worst people, and she told me “Yes, EVERYONE.” That word had never caused me so much hope before.
Knowing her and knowing the Home of the Mother has been a true privilege for me, something I will always thank God for. I will never be able to erase from my memory the smiles of my dear Mayra and María Augusta, the energy that just poured out of Jazmina and Catalina, or Valeria’s kindness. And of course all that Sr. Clare left us. When we turn our gaze to Heaven we will find them, or at least I hope, by the mercy of God, that these are not just words but the place where they now live forever.