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Courtney and Sr. Clare

Courtney McHale:  She seemed to have the true understanding of humility that we all strive for, not a dismissal of our gifts, but zeal to use our gifts for the purposes of God. Sr. Clare was so much fun to be with, she used her talents for acting and storytelling to capture hearts and lead them towards God. She really had a magnetic quality about her.

Courtney McHale met Sr. Clare when she was 16 years old on a pilgrimage to the shrines of the North American Martyrs in New York and Canada in 2008. She later also attended World Youth Day in Madrid in 2011, where she coincided again with Sr. Clare. She shares in this testimony a beautiful description of Sr. Clare’s personality and total donation to the Lord.

The first words that come to mind are "joyful" and "servant"! Sr. Clare was always, always looking out for the others. She was so selfless, and she wasn't afraid to use all her gifts for the glory of God. This really stood out to me. She seemed to have the true understanding of humility that we all strive for, not a dismissal of our gifts, but zeal to use our gifts for the purposes of God. Sr. Clare was so much fun to be with, she used her talents for acting and storytelling to capture hearts and lead them towards God. She really had a magnetic quality about her. I remember all the youth wanting to be near her and hear what she had to say. One moment she would have us laughing so hard, and the next she would be talking about a deep spiritual truth, and we'd be on the edge of our seat. There was something very simple, yet very profound about her and the way she would talk to us.

I always was impressed by the way Sr. Clare lived her life with such certainty and zeal. She was all in for God, for her vocation, and for her work of touching souls and leading them towards Heaven. She also encouraged us to be all in. She would say very often referring to receiving promptings from the Holy Spirit, "just do it!" She also wasn't afraid to suffer. She set a very good example of this for me. She often had debilitating headaches, but you would never know this because she was always deflecting attention away from herself. I remember being in high school and being very struck by her example of joyful suffering.   

Sr. Clare demonstrated so many heroic virtues! Her joy was definitely exemplary. Her obedience was very striking to me as well. During pilgrimages with her I witnessed moments where she was asked to do things that would go against human comfort, but she didn't hesitate and embraced obedience every single time without letting on that she was in anyway displeased. Sr. Clare was so quick to move into action when Padre or one of the sisters asked something of her. She eagerly took a role of deep humility, as if she saw herself as the little child in the family of Home of the Mother. When she told stories of her conversion and her past, she did so in a way that did not glorify the glamour of a popular and worldly life. It seemed to me that she valued purity so deeply that in her conversations and storytelling she always upheld this virtue in the way she spoke. I remember admiring how detached she was from comfort and material possessions. She had true poverty of spirit, and her simplicity was beautiful. Sr. Clare in fact showed that simplicity didn't mean boring, it meant freedom and joy!

Courtney and Sr. Clare in Niagara FallsI do not remember encountering any faults in Sr. Clare. 

I would say she was in constant union [with God], or at least desiring to be at every moment! I could tell by her presence of peace. She exemplified the fruits of the Spirit which is a sure sign of communion with God. It was evident that her prayer life was very strong. I would watch her in times of prayer, and I admired her greatly. She was in love with Jesus and there is no doubt about that! 

When I was with her, listening to her talk and watching her serve, I was convinced that she was a living saint. It was not because she seemed to perfect, rather she was human in such a purified way. She was what a human should be. She was real, authentic, and approachable. There was a sense about her that made you want to open your heart to her and hear her advice. Receiving advice from Sr. Clare was so comforting because you felt her connection to God and you felt that God was using her in a powerful way, as if God was able to touch my own heart through Sr. Clare. While Sr. Clare was always joyful and exemplified profound virtue, she was not on a level that was unreachable to the rest of us and she never put off an air that made you feel she was a step above, although she clearly was. She rather lived with arms wide open, embracing Christ and embracing all the people of God. She knew how to journey with others, and she had the gift of encouragement. She had so many gifts and yet it was so clear that these gifts were His and that she belonged to Him and encouraged each of us to find our identity in Him alone as she had done.

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