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Tuesday, 07 January 2020 21:00

The Clare Effect

Servant Brothers

Servant Brothers of the Home of the Mother:  The video of Sister Clare has one million views in Spanish and only half a million in English, but I sometimes get the impression that I am on the path to meeting all half a million one at a time.

A year ago, the Servant Brothers of the Home of the Mother opened a community in Mallow, Ireland. They find themselves before what they call “The Clare Effect,” that is, Sr. Clare Crockett's influence. They define it as a beneficent global warming, for her birthplace especially.

The Servant Brothers have been in Ireland for a year already. Time has flown by. We have noticed many things living on this island: good milk, narrow roads, GAA and rainy days sincerely considered good weather. But we have also noticed that Ireland is small. 

There are around 4 million people, but sometimes it seems that there are even less. Several times we have had random strangers on the other side of the country say, “Mallow”, where we live, “is where I grew up! My house was the one across the street”. Or so and so, who had just done us a favor, happens to be so and so’s close friend. There is a high chance that any given person knows someone you know. This experience is as common as tea, and Sister Clare is getting into that tea.

The video of Sister Clare has one million views in Spanish and only half a million in English, but I sometimes get the impression that I am on the path to meeting all half a million one at a time.

When we were in Derry on one occasion, we were wandering around with a group of young men looking for a field to play sports. We eventually found what we wanted and began to play. A group of young people came up to us. “Are you priests?”" they asked. And in the midst of the conversation one of us said, “Have you heard of Sister Clare by any chance?” “Ay, she’s the nun, in the earthquake she died.” Thanks to Sister Clare, introducing ourselves is easier. All we have to add is, “We are part of the same group.”

Servant BrothersOn another occasion, we presented the short video of Sister Clare to a classroom of girls. It was our first time to do so. By the end of the film many of the girls were in tears. It had a lasting impression. The same day others were touched by the words “she’s our sister.”

Since she is our sister, we randomly give out cards of Sister Clare. We sow seeds and God does the rest. On one occasion, we saw a girl in Eucharistic Adoration who spent the entire hour just looking at a picture of Sister Clare. Who had given it to her? What did she know about her story? What was Sister Clare telling her during that whole hour? Certainly there was something deep, very deep, uniting these Irish souls in Jesus' Presence.

On a Youth 2000 retreat, part of the schedule included the viewing of Sister Clare’s film. There were technical difficulties that were eventually resolved. Despite the hour, a group of 50 people did not want to hit the hay without meeting Sister Clare. The one who insisted putting the film on was not a Servant Brother, Sister or even a lay member, but a true Christian convinced of the value of Sister Clare’s life and message. 

We also overheard two sisters invoking Sister Clare along with the names of other saints. They felt no need to make distinctions: “Saint John Paul II, Saint John Bosco and Sister Clare... Pray for us!” *

On another occasion, we heard about a bit of a scuffle and hurt feelings because several young people from NET (National Evangelization Team) ministries were not permitted to have Sister Clare as the Patron Saint of their household, simply because she is not yet canonized. Both sides are understandable. But the former are still wounded from the occasion, and their wounds show their love for Sister Clare, for they consider her part of their group.

As can be seen by all these examples, the “Clare Effect” can be easily noticed. On this chilly island, there are also people concerned with global warming. As far as I can tell, the only thing warming the world is the hearts of those who love like Sister Clare. The global warming of the “Clare Effect” is certainly a good thing: Sister Clare is changing lives everywhere but especially on this Emerald Isle.

Servant Brothers of the Home of the Mother
Mallow, Ireland

*The Servant Brothers were witness of this fact. We do not intend to anticipate the Church's verdict regarding Sr. Clare's holiness.

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