Tuesday, 22 August 2017 21:00

A Rose of Generosity


Sr. Kelai Reno, USA:  When I used to go with Sr. Clare, she was the one who carried the weight of the conversation and created a cheerful and welcoming atmosphere for the sick.

Sr. Kelai Maria shared many experiences with Sr. Clare in the communities of Belmonte and Valencia, Spain, especially during visits to the sick and elderly. Shortly after Sr. Clare's death, Sr. Kelai asked for a “rose” as a sign that she was in heaven.

I lived with Sr. Clare when I was a candidate and also for two years as a sister in the communities of Valencia and Belmonte, Spain. Those two years were very intense, yet very beautiful. We shared so many experiences together! We witnessed so many blessings, conversions, and miracles through Our Lady! We accompanied the sick together at the time of their death, preparing them to die peacefully. We fought for young people together and offered sacrifices for them. We shared so many songs, so many jokes, and so much laughter! We also lived the Eucharist together, those brief moments in which heaven descends to earth... We spent so many hours together on our knees before the Lord! Hundreds of hours adoring Him here on earth… And now, how I long to be there sooner with her, adoring Him once more, and for all eternity!

When we received the news that they had found the lifeless bodies of Sr. Clare and the candidates, I naturally experienced a great loss, humanly speaking, because I would not see my Sister anymore on this earth. At the same time, I felt closer than ever to the Communion of Saints. I felt that I could talk to her as much as I wanted, because the distances proper to this world no longer separated us. Moreover, an immense desire to be holy and to reach heaven as soon as possible grew within me. I spoke with her often, asking her especially to help me become generous, but with great and total generosity. I repeated this petition constantly and with all my heart.

Hna. Kelai cantando con la Hna. Clare

On the Saturday after her death, during adoration that morning, I remembered that she once asked for a rose from her protector saint, St. Thérèse. That same day, when she went to the laundry room, she found a red rose under a towel that covered the washing machine. Remembering that, I asked Sr. Clare if she could give me a rose, too, as a sign that she was in heaven.

The same day, after adoration, I went with a sister and a group of young people, who were preparing to receive their Confirmation, to visit the elderly at a nursing home. It has always been difficult for me to visit the sick and elderly at the hospital or nursing home, and it continues to be so. I want to help them and bring them joy. If that meant just sitting by their side to accompany them or bring them something when they needed it, it wouldn’t be so hard for me. But love demands me to be willing to do more. For example, to try to begin a good conversation, to encourage them, to spend time with them, even if they are in a bad mood, not to receive anything in return, to forget my shyness, how tired I am, to leave my own comfort behind for the other person's welfare… Again, it is still hard for me, though we do it again and again. I spent a whole year in Valencia visiting the sick and elderly, and in Belmonte we went every Sunday with the girls to the nursing home. Most of the time I spent with Sr. Clare was doing just that: visiting the elderly and the sick. It is the activity that I most associate with her. We spent hundreds and hundreds of hours visiting the sick and the elderly. So many beautiful memories come to mind! She knew how to treat the sick with such spirit, love, and joy! 

On the way to the nursing home, seeing how difficult it was going to be for me, I asked the Lord for generosity and Sr. Clare for help to live the visit well. When I used to go with Sr. Clare, she was the one who carried the weight of the conversation and created a cheerful and welcoming atmosphere for the sick. Her joy that was not superficial at all. She really sought their spiritual welfare, and if she had to correct them or tell them the truth, she did so.

During the time we spent that morning at the nursing home, it was as if Sr. Clare had given me "part of her spirit," and I experienced true generosity in me, an ability to forget myself and leave behind my comfort and my shyness. I felt her so close to me all morning! When we got in the car to leave, I couldn’t control my tears of amazement. In that moment, I understood in my heart that this was her rose for me: a rose of generosity. The more I reflect, a huge impression is left upon my soul because of her closeness and her gestures toward me, gestures that only she and God understand in their totality, because of what we have lived together.


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