Laura Stinnet, USA: Her joy was contagious and her ability to make someone smile was a gift the Lord had given to her, and which she used to bring souls closer to Christ.
For those of you who never got to meet Sr. Clare, she was certainly full of jokes. For those of you who did know Sr. Clare, I’m sure you have many memories of her making you laugh! She certainly could make anyone laugh within seconds of meeting her. Her joy was contagious and her ability to make someone smile was a gift the Lord had given to her, and which she used to bring souls closer to Christ.
Having known Sr. Clare for the past 10 years before she passed, I could share countless stories of her humor and her love for Christ. But there is one story in particular that I would like to share. It was July 2, 2010. My mom and I were talking with Sr. Clare shortly after the ceremony when the Servant Sisters profess their vows for the first time, or renew their vows. After the ceremony, Sr. Clare was talking to my mom and I about how on September 8 of that same year she was going to profess her final vows.
She invited my mom and I to attend her “wedding day”, the day she was to marry her Beloved Jesus Christ. Shortly after, the jokes began. My mom jokingly asked Sr. Clare if she could be one of her bridesmaids. Sr. Clare of course said yes! My mom proceeded to ask Sr. Clare what she should wear if she was going to be a bridesmaid? Sr. Clare said she should wear a pink boa. My mom asked if she could wear a tiara as well? Sr. Clare said: of course! One that has flashing lights and says: “Glory to God in the Highest”. We all laughed thinking of such a sight at Sr. Clare’s final profession of vows!
While it is funny to think about bridesmaids, pink boas and a lit up tiara for a ceremony in which Sr. Clare was to profess her final vows, this joke has always made me reflect upon who Sr. Clare was. She was overjoyed to be professing her vows to God, to be only, always and totally His. She couldn’t help but go around inviting people to share in the joy of that day. She knew exactly how to join in on the jokes my mom was throwing her way, but even her jokes were aimed at one thing: giving God the Glory! Sr. Clare was never wrapped up in the material things of this world. Her entire life was dedicated to giving God the glory. That was her only concern, and the one thing she fought to achieve each and every day.
I recently got married, on June 4, 2016, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Sr. Clare was very much present there. In prayer, I asked Sr. Clare to be an honorary bridesmaid, by interceding for us from Heaven. As I walked up the aisle that day to meet my groom, her words, “Glory to God in the Highest”, were repeated over and over again in my mind. Isn’t that the goal of every vocation? Each person, whether they are called to Religious Life or called to Marriage, should always strive for this way of life. Our lives are so short, and our time here on earth will pass. We should question ourselves each day, “am I giving glory to God?” During the Nuptial Mass of our wedding, we prayed for Sr. Clare during the intercessions, that she might enjoy perfect happiness and total fulfillment in eternal life. I know she was there at our wedding in spirit, praying for us.
Sr. Clare was an amazing person who was truly a sister to me. I miss her tremendously, but I know that she is now rejoicing in God’s presence. And I know if she were here right now, she would tell us one thing: to give glory to God with our lives! May we always live as she did: giving God the Glory in all that we do!
Laura Stinnet (Laura Vorholt)