Sr. Annemaria Naiman, U.S.A:
Her apostolic zeal was so sincere that it gave fruit in any situation: with elderly people, married couples, youth…
Sr. Clare taught me what it means to love children. There was one moment when I was already a Servant Sister and I started to complain to myself because in all of our family retreats and meetings, I was always stuck with the kids. I was a bit upset about this because my pride had convinced me that it was because my superiors thought I wasn’t good for anything else, like the more “important” work like being with the adults or the youth. I would always be sent with the little kids, and this kind of irritated me.
Sr. Clare with the "Happy Pinecones" group
But, one day the thought of Sr. Clare in Jacksonville came to my mind. She was almost always with the little kids. Her way of interacting with them is what I remembered the most at that moment. Her apostolic zeal was so sincere that it gave fruit in any situation: with elderly people, married couples, youth… I especially remember the Thanksgiving Encounter of 2009. She was in charge of the little girls’ group during the whole encounter. I smile every time I remember how she gave Indian “tribal names” to each girl, and her little tribe was called “The Happy Pinecones.” The girls really admired her. For them, whatever Sr. Clare told them was as if God Himself said so. I never heard Sr. Clare complain outwardly about always being with the children, and I would take a chance and say that she probably did not even complain inwardly either. It was evident to anyone who saw her that she enthusiastically embraced each opportunity to work with them. She loved each child and took interest in each one of them. She had a gift for reaching them, for entertaining them and explaining things on their level. She had an incredible ability to take any simple situation from kids’ everyday lives and make some connection to a spiritual lesson that they could understand. She also had a great deal of patience. She could play “Rock, Paper, Scissors” for hours. I never saw her with the attitude of, “Well, now I have to put up with these little ones for a while.” But rather, “Let’s see what I can teach them in this time that we have to play together.” She took advantage of every opportunity to form their consciences and tell them stories about the saints. Her only concern when she was with them was making them grow in their love for God. In fact, I know of several girls that, thanks to how they saw the love of God reflected in their dear Sr. Clare, felt God’s call to be only His at a very young age.