Infocatólica is one of the most visited digital newspapers for socio-religious information and opinion for Spanish-speakers. On April 22, 2019, Javier Navascués, Infocatólica blogger, dedicated a blog to Sr. Clare. To that end, he interviewed Sr. Kristen Gardner, one of the sisters at the head of the website www.sisterclare.com and the soul of the documentary film about Sr. Clare that is doing so much good: All or Nothing: Sr. Clare Crockett.
The complete interview may be found below, translated from the original Spanish.
Javier Navascués, 04/24/19 at 7:58 AM
After watching the video of Sr. Clare, I was struck by the wonderful work of God in a soul. Hers is one of those conversions that have an impact. From the barren pit of emptiness and the dark caverns of pleasure, God transformed her life with luminous presence and cultivated the fullness of an overflowing Christian life in her soul. Like a well digger, she looked for the spring of Living Water and the limpid and crystalline presence of grace renewed her whole being radically.
Upon reflecting on the video, the joy that it conveyed—the joy of virtue of those who abandon themselves to God and nothing disturbs them in the midst of the pain—one feels that she was ready for Heaven. This is how her sisters understood it in such a heartrending loss. On thorns of pain, they put on roses of conformity, for her premature departure did not have the bitter taste of goodbye, but the sweet consolation of a “see you later.” Her legacy helps them walk this journey without erring. Her example encourages them to reach one day the unfading crown at her side.
We interview Sr. Kristen, Servant Sister of the Home of the Mother and one of those responsible for Sr. Clare's website and everything related to the testimony of her life. She entered as a candidate and novice with Sr. Clare, and for that reason, she was a privileged witness of the transformation that God made her soul. HOLINESS IS POSSIBLE. Join us and you will see how.
For those who do not know, who was Sr. Clare?
Sr. Clare Crockett was a Servant Sister of the Home of the Mother who died in an earthquake in Ecuador in April 2016. Before giving her life to God, she had wanted to be a famous actress, but she had a strong conversion on a Good Friday. Soon after, she left all her plans behind to follow the Lord. After her formation as a candidate and novice with the Servant Sisters in Spain, she worked with children and young people in the United States, Spain and Ecuador, where she died at 33 years of age.
Can you say that after her spectacular conversion she was already ready to go to Heaven?
Upon hearing that the building where we lived in Playa Prieta, Ecuador, had fallen due to the earthquake and that Sr. Clare had not been found yet, one of our sisters said that she knew intuitively from the beginning that they would not find Sr. Clare alive because she was ready to go to Heaven. Only God can judge this really, but we, who have lived with her, can testify that we do believe that she was prepared. She took her dedication to God very seriously and did not keep anything for herself. She gave it all. Everything is everything. We never heard a complaint come out of her mouth. She was always ready to serve, make others happy, or whatever was needed at each moment.
What virtues did Sr. Clare possess?
The virtue that stood out most in her, according to Fr. Rafael Alonso, founder of the Home of the Mother and spiritual director of Sr. Clare for many years, was her magnanimity. This virtue is a greatness of soul and of heart, proper to one who is not miserly or stingy, but rather generous and dedicated to all. Her love seemed to have no measure. She was willing to do anything.
Another virtue she excelled in was joy. She had the gift of friendliness by nature, but we all know that it is not always easy to smile and be cheerful at all times. There are always times when you are tired or discouraged... But she always—always—made the effort to be happy and make others happy.
Lastly, I want to mention her obedience. We make a vow of obedience, and she really lived it fully. The different superiors that she had over the last years of her life shared that they didn’t know what things she liked to do and what she did not, because you could not tell. Her answer was always: "Yes, of course I can." Her obedience was prompt, cheerful and universal. She was willing to wash dishes, to clean, to talk to groups of young people, to give catechism... to do whatever was necessary in each moment, even when something was not part of her plans for that day.
Can you tell some examples that show her virtue?
I really love a story Sr. Mercedes tells. She was Sr. Clare’s superior in Guayaquil. One morning Sr. Clare said to the Virgin Mary: "Mom, today you can ask me for everything." What a beautiful prayer! It reflects her close, filial relationship with the Virgin Mary. She also showed her willingness to do all that the Lord and the Virgin wanted of her each day. Her motto: “All or nothing" is a good reflection of it. She did not want to live in mediocrity. In the book of Revelation the Lord says: "Because you are neither cold nor hot, I am about to vomit you out of my mouth." We have to tend toward holiness and give everything to the Lord.
This is evident in small details. Sr. Merly, who was in the community with her in Playa Prieta and who was also in the house during the earthquake, tells how she saw Sr. Clare’s readiness and how she did different services in small things each day. For example, they lived on a third floor. Many times, when they had down downstairs to go to class and a sister would say: "Oh, I forgot the science book!" Sr. Clare, leaving no room for anyone to react, was already climbing up the stairs to find that book for the sister. She never thought about herself. She only thought of others and the Lord.
Another example of her love for the Lord: Sr. Sara Maria, who was also in the community of Playa Prieta in recent years, often accompanied her to give Holy Communion to the sick in the area (in order to help the parish priest, who could not reach everyone). One day, just as they were about to enter a house of bamboo, the Eucharist fell to the ground. It was a dirt road and Sr. Clare, with much love, looked at the Lord and asked for forgiveness. After picking Him up, she tried to make sure that no particles had remained on the ground. Then she kissed the ground and her mouth became covered in dirt. She could not continue giving Holy Communion because she kept crying. It impressed her, above all, that Jesus became so small and humble that He could fall to the ground and become covered with dirt. She said: "Why, Lord, do you do this to Yourself? "
Well, and I could go on, but these are some examples.
How did you all go through her death?
Her death was very difficult, since she was our first sister to die. We are a young community, founded in 1984, and until then no sister had died. When the building fell, the neighbors of the town helped us search for the sisters and girls who were inside the house. It took almost a whole day to find Sr. Clare’s body. We prayed intensely in all the communities in the world, asking for the miracle that she would be alive. But it was not the Lord's will. It was difficult, but, at the same time, we experienced that the Lord wanted to fix our eyes on Heaven and tell us about our true homeland. We do not have to remain in the things down here. We are called to be with God for all eternity, and Sr. Clare’s death helped all the sisters remember our true goal. Through the mercy of God, we hope that she is already there in Heaven waiting for us. This gives us great joy and confidence to think that it is possible to make it.
How do you all feel that your sister's example of life in religion is an encouragement to holiness?
Personally, she helps me a lot. I entered the Servant Sisters at the same time as her. We were candidates and novices together. So I have seen how the Lord has transformed her little by little. It is very inspiring to see what the Lord can do with a soul that is docile and that does not deny Him anything. He can do anything, and Sr. Clare is an example of what the Lord can do with us if we let Him.
Why a website about Sr. Clare?
Right after her death, her story began to spread throughout the world. Many news agencies published news of her death as well as a little about her story. People started asking for more information. We received emails, phone calls and Facebook messages. That's why we then decided to create a website to facilitate the access to her life and her story. We made the website ourselves and manage all the publications.
What role did the documentary have to publicize her life?
On the second anniversary of her death, in 2018, we put out a documentary about her life, entitled All or Nothing: Sr. Clare Crockett. During the first months, the film could be requested through a form on our website. We wanted to encourage parishes, schools, youth groups, etc., to organize screenings of the film. We received several thousands of requests and the film was shown all over the world in English and Spanish. We were surprised that a Tanzanian nun had it screened for 500 young people there in Africa. The good that the film did in her hometown, Derry, Northern Ireland, is also noteworthy. It is a city that has suffered a lot because of the conflict between Irish and English, and there is a lot of alcoholism, drug addiction, suicides, etc. But Sr. Clare is giving them hope: "If she could do it, why can’t I do it too?"
Then, in November, we published it on YouTube. Since then, it has almost more than one million views. It is translated into Spanish, English, Italian, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Romanian, Croatian ... and testimonies and requests for prayers do not stop arriving. We are really amazed at what the Lord is doing through Sr. Clare.
What are the most powerful testimonies you have received?
I believe that the main message Sr. Clare’s life gives is this: holiness is possible. Many people write (also priests and religious) and tell us how Sr. Clare has given them a push to really give themselves and not stay in mediocrity. There have also been many other shocking testimonies from other people, such as someone who wanted to commit suicide and, by chance, seeing Sr. Clare’s movie on YouTube, changed her mind.
There is also a young woman who had left the Catholic Church and had become a Protestant, but when she saw the film, she began to feel desires to receive Jesus in the Eucharist and pray the Rosary. She has already returned to the Catholic Church. She says that All or Nothing popped up continually on YouTube, so watched it. It is funny that this happens, because we have not invested in advertising, yet the Lord uses YouTube so that people see it.
We are also happy to hear about how much good the film is doing to consecrated souls of many communities in the Church. They write to us telling us how Sr. Clare motivates them to be more generous with the Lord and to truly fight for holiness.
Tell us about your book project on her life...
A few days ago, a priest asked us, "When is a book about her life coming out, sisters? Because I do not know how many times I've seen the movie and I know it all, but I want to know more about her.” Like him, there are many others. We receive many emails and messages asking for a book. So we have begun it, but it will be a long work. We have to gather a lot of information and many testimonies. We do not have a publication date yet, but we are working on it and it will arrive.
I have not found information on the internet about her possible process of beatification. Would there be possibilities to initiate it in the future?
We are open to the possibility of starting the process, but for now we have to wait. The Church asks that you wait at least a period of 5 years from the death of the person to begin it. So, for the moment, we are simply gathering information and trying to discern the will of God, but we must wait.
Javier Navascués Pérez