Antonia Demasi, United States:
If there was anything Sr. Clare taught me, it was that I was strong enough to fight for my faith, old enough to be actively involved in Church activities, and she instilled in me a desire to love Our Lady.
"Don't be such a baby". These were the words that Sr. Clare told us campers. My family was hosting a Girls Camp for the Home of the Mother, and so that meant I was to participate as a camper! I think I was about 9 years old, and I was luckily placed in Sr. Clare's group.
If there was anything Sr. Clare taught me, it was that I was strong enough to fight for my faith, old enough to be actively involved in Church activities, and she instilled in me a desire to love Our Lady. She always greeted me with a smile, and made me want to be better spiritually, physically, and emotionally. When people in our group started to fuss, or complain, she would merely state that line, "Don't be such a baby". Some of the girls took offence at this, but to me it was an encouragement to stand up, shake the dirt off, and continue to battle with the grace God gives us.
Sr. Clare taught me on that retreat all the wonders that are present in the Mass, especially the parts that are sung. Asking each of us in the group what tunes we liked best during the Mass, and showing us how much joy there is in singing God's praises.
You can imagine my surprise, however, when I received Best Camper [award] at the end of the camp. I thought that every camper would love to listen, and learn from such a happy and joy-filled Sister. I still have the Best Camper award I won that year because it reminds me of all I learned from the camp. How much fun I had throwing water balloons at Sr. Clare and the girls, and how I made my first commitment to the Home. Even after the camp I was able to stay in touch with her, and she was a constant friend and mentor to me. Helping me through my struggles, my faithlessness, and encouraging me to keep on holding my crosses that the Lord had put in front of me. Whether Sr. Clare was in Ecuador, Spain, Florida, or wherever, I always knew I had a friend in the faith. Even though Sr. Clare is not here on earth anymore, I feel as though she is closer than ever, because she lives with Him.