Santiago Matallana: Something told me that it was her, Sr. Clare, to whom I had to turn to in order to finish filling that mysterious chalice of prayer that was being filled to manage to take the step of commitment with my girlfriend.
Dear Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother,
Very good morning to you. As I promised Sr. Clare on September 5, I am writing this brief testimony to attest to the spiritual help I have received through her intercession after having prayed to her.
My name is Santiago Matallana. I am 26 years old, an architect by profession, Colombian by birth and Catholic at heart. I have the immense joy of actively participating in our triumphant religion as a member of the Third Order of the Heralds of the Gospel, or Knights of the Virgin Mary, as we are commonly called in Colombia.
I learned about Sr. Clare this year through a very beloved, respected, and admired person in the Heralds, who spoke fantastically about her after seeing some videos and pictures of her. Here in Colombia, cards with Sr. Clare’s picture on one side and a private prayer on the back were distributed. There was also an email address to communicated favors received. I must confess that, despite the excellent reference that led me to have that first contact with her, I had a cold relationship with Sr. Clare at first. In any case, I kept it respectfully but without devotion.
The circumstance that led me to ask Heaven for help was the following. In August, I traveled to São Paulo, Brazil, with the intention to celebrate the birthday of our father and founder, Msgr. João, and to visit my girlfriend Júlia, from Minas Gerais, who also participates actively in the Heralds as a tertiary. Some time prior to the trip, circumstances showed that the visit to Brazil was the right time to propose to Júlia. I made the necessary arrangements to formalize the commitment: I brought a ring and a suitable box to present it to her. It happened that, during my stay in Brazil, I was assaulted by "attacks" of coldness and disinterest towards my girlfriend. I contemplated, on several occasions, not formalizing the commitment, fallaciously excusing myself for minor misunderstandings of no importance. I perceived that the devil, at all costs, was putting traps on our path to prevent us from taking this step toward marriage.
I was in Brazil for 40 days. For about a month of those 40 days, I was a pendulum, swinging back and forth in my decision and suffering a lot because of this. I sought unfailing help in prayer, turning to my guardian angel and other patron saints that we Heralds of the Gospel have devotion to. Yet the perplexity continued and did not seem to be resolved. One day, we decided to watch the documentary about Sr. Clare. She had already seen it and said that it had moved her to tears. That night, after watching the documentary, I perceived with pleasant surprise how that tension, those doubts and mental tangles had been dissolved with a unique simplicity. My facial expression, due to my hard, cold and confused indecision, changed to one that was relaxed, fresh and smiling. At that moment, something told me that it was her, Sr. Clare, to whom I had to turn to in order to finish filling that mysterious chalice of prayer that was being filled to manage to take the step of commitment with my girlfriend.
A few days after watching the documentary, on Monday, September 5, 2022, I formulated the following request: “Sr. Clare, I’m going to trust in your intercession. If today you give me that ‘push’ to propose to Júlia, I promise to write about it so that there may be proof, as the prayer card says, ‘That the life of our Sister Clare Theresa Crockett has been pleasing to You on this earth and that she is now rejoicing with You in Heaven.’ Amen.”
That evening, we went to Mass at the Heralds’ house in Belo Horizonte. During the thanksgiving after Communion, while I renewed my consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary using the formula composed by St. Louis de Montfort, which I normally pray using my private devotional, I reached a page where the Sr. Clare prayer card was. I prayed the prayer to ask for favors and I had a conversation with her, saying, “Sister, it must be today! If it is not today, I am not going to write a testimony… I do not know, but it must be today! Do as you wish. The matter is in your hands.” Mass ended, we went to a formation meeting that really touched me, and when it was over, I felt that “push” I asked for. With great difficulty and extremely nervous, yet firm and sure enough to formulate the proposal, I asked Júlia to go the chapel with me. With words that came from my heart, I asked her to marry me. She said yes. I had no more doubts about it. The test had been passed.
The last drop, so to speak, that filled that mysterious chalice of prayers was Sr. Clare.
The multitude of factors that intervene in such a situation like this is difficult to condense in an email, yet I hope that it may at least be useful to convey an idea of the context the heavenly and invaluable support of Sr. Clare, whom I now have a great devotion to.
Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother, I wish you all kinds of graces for the fruitfulness of your apostolate, the exponential growth of vocations and the most complete sanctification of your work. I commend myself to your prayers and promise you mine. Greetings to Father Rafael.
In Domina Nostra,
Santiago Andrés Matallana Ovalle
Tertiary of the Heralds of the Gospel