The magazine of the Theological Institute of St. Thomas Aquinas, Lumen Veritatis, published an article dedicated to the biography of Sr. Clare, written by Fr. Carlos Werner, EP, in its 51st issue. We share the article below.
Sr. Kristen Gardner's book has been causing a formidable impact on the great majority of readers. The biography of young Clare Crockett, Servant Sister of the Home of the Mother, impresses the Catholic faithful for its content, for its style and for the admirable figure that it reveals.
Above all, the truth. It does not shy away from presenting aspects that might be less edifying. The book presents Clare Crockett as she was, with her ambitious and terrible adolescence, her shocking conversion, her indecisiveness, her defects, and her progressive sanctification—not without moments of doubt and trial—all of which she overcame thanks to her trust in God.
Moreover, what is written fully agrees with what can visibly be seen. The photos confirm what is being narrated in a convincing way. I shall mention a few examples. The picture of Clare as a novice reveals on her face the mystical visits of the Trinity that she describes in her spiritual diary, along with that simplicity and freshness so typical of true friends of God.
Similarly, the photos of the end of her life reflect that ardent and irrepressible desire within her to give of herself, moved by the burning zeal of the Heart of the Good Shepherd: "He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end." On the other hand, the author leads the reader to contemplate what she would call the "nerve of her life:" All or nothing. Sr. Clare was truly like that. She decided to give everything for God, and she gave it all, even to the point of consuming herself for Him. Clare, from that point of view, questions the reader: “If I did it, why not you?” The logic of truth and being uncompromising in doing good mark her soul in a profound way.
The radicalism, brilliance and combativeness of her purity appear with special brilliance. She was pure to the last consequences. She fought for her purity and for the purity of others. She was a rare example of a charming, charismatic, cheerful young woman who made virginity one of her most beautiful ideals so as to imitate the perpetual Virginity of Mary, a mystery so highly valued in her congregation of the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother. Moreover, in her photos, this virtue is manifested in her modesty and in the luminosity of her gaze. She defended the angelic virtue like a tigress! It is surprising to see this strength in a woman, in a young woman, in a religious.
Her enthusiastic attitude in favor of purity undoubtedly partakes of the militant virginity of St. Joan of Arc. The book also manages to convey the docility of her obedience, which was perfect, whether in the hands of her superiors or following the instinctus Spiritus Sancti St. Thomas speaks of. She is a veritable prodigy of dependence and submission to the will of God, sought with tenacity and enthusiasm, and always in a joyful spirit.
The splendor of her poverty is also striking. In the book it is said that, when the Servant Sisters arrived in the US, the children of the school looked out of the window and shouted, "Look! Angels!" Well, Sr. Clare's poverty, lived with the satisfaction of not possessing even the sandals of the habit, radiates that angelic light that characterizes the charism of the Home of the Mother.
She lived all this with joy, even though in her interior she lived subjected by divine probation to the shadows of melancholy. In the same way, she always remained joyful, joyful for Jesus, joyful for the others, joyful for those whom the Good Shepherd had entrusted to her care. She was resolutely faithful in joy.
Sr. Clare Crockett shines in the firmament of the Church as a star of hope for the young generations, educated in a world so contrary to the Holy Gospel, even in countries of ancient Catholic tradition. The descendants of the "civilization of the image," as Pope Montini more than once called the youth of his time, sometimes present a weak and unstable psychic structure.
Sr. Clare, as the book shows, was a product of this civilization, and therefore particularly fragile in her nature. But the Crucified Lord made her prodigiously strong and generous. Everything about her speaks of a lion's heart in a squirrel's body, of eagle's eyes in a sparrow's head, as St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, her patroness, would more or less have put it.
Her devotion to the Virgin Mary was intimate, spontaneous and filial. Her religious name reflects this clearly, since Mary appears twice: Sister Clare Mary of the Trinity and of the Heart of Mary. Sheltered by the Mother of God, whom she affectionately called "Mama," she maintained, in spite of the difficulties, her serious resolution to progress in the spiritual life and to give herself to others with a prompt, humble and zealous fraternal charity.
Reading the book, one has the impression of being in front of a gigantic figure, as if she were a 21st century St. Thérèse—by the way, Sr. Clare maintained an excellent spiritual relationship with her, being her protector saint. It is surprising to discover the providential nature of her specific mission as a "cooperator" of the Good Shepherd. She herself expressed it with great clarity on the occasion of the election of Pope Benedict. And so it was all her life. But a very touching element is that her tragic death in the earthquake in Playa Prieta fell on the eve of Good Shepherd Sunday, April 16, which is also Pope Ratzinger's birthday. There could not be a clearer sign of predestination and love, which is further reaffirmed by the piece of wall intact after the earthquake in which she is painted singing and playing the guitar in Heaven. It is a perfect finishing touch. I would almost say it is God's signature on Sr. Clare's life.
Sr. Kristen Gardner's work is very complete as regards documentation, both for the abundance of writings from the spiritual notebooks cited, and for the quantity of testimonies and biographical details—none of them idle or unnecessary—provided in a clear, direct and intelligent style. I would like to congratulate the author for her fine spiritual discernment and for her intellectual honesty.
Carlos Javier Werner Benjumea , EP