Another one of these occasions where I was able to observe Sr. Clare’s spirit of sacrifice was during World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid. At one point throughout those days, Pope Benedict XVI was going to meet with a group of young religious at the Monastery of El Escorial. All of the novices (I was a novice at the time) and a handful of professed sisters of the Home of the Mother had tickets for the encounter.
We arrived very early to get a spot. We thought about having breakfast there while we waited. There was a small group of sisters that did not have tickets. They got something for breakfast and left to look for a good spot outside of El Escorial where they could at least watch from the screen and wave to the Pope when he came out. The rest of us kept going.
At a certain point, when we had to go through security, it turned out that Sr. Clare and I did not have tickets, either. We were the last ones to go in and really far behind the group. We had neither tickets nor breakfast. We turned around to look for a spot outside of El Escorial, but we couldn’t find the other sisters who had gone out earlier. On top of that, Sr. Clare had a migraine that day, and her migraines were no joke! She wasn’t hungry at all, but thinking about me, she had the idea to ask some Franciscan sisters if they could give us something to eat. She observed them, saying, “They know what begging is. Surely they’ll give us something,” as they did indeed.
As the morning went on, her headache grew worse. We were in the sun in the middle of a sea of people who were singing and shouting in the heat of August in Madrid. There were a lot of people seated and waiting for the Pope. We also sat down. Sr. Clare had to close her eyes for a bit. Always thinking about me, she did not want to lose the spot we had where we could possibly see the Pope up close. She insisted on sitting there instead of looking for a shady spot.
Throughout all of World Youth Day, people would come up and ask us who we were, where we were from, our charism, etc. At that moment, many people came to ask. Sr. Clare got up and spoke with each person who came up to us, happily and funny as always. In fact, she spoke with them more than I did. It was a huge lesson for me that day. Even though she felt awful, she was able to forget about herself to talk to the people much more than I, who suffered nothing more than a bit of shyness.