We didn’t know who she was a week ago!
It took her death to bring her name to our lips and her story to our hearts. A young woman from Derry who, as a teenager, went on what she thought was a holiday only to find out it was a pilgrimage. Initially reluctant, she found herself drawn to the experience and later decided to become a Religious Sister. Her work took her to Ecuador and last week’s earthquake there, took her to Paradise. She was 33 years old. May she rest in peace.
There have been many images posted on line and words written in newspapers about Sr Clare during the week. She died, we are told, trying to rescue children. It’s clear she lived among them too. Many of the images are of her playing her guitar, singing songs, smiling and always joyful. In many of the pictures, there’s a hand holding the words or music for her, helping her in her task. Video clips show her walking with a true bounce in her steps and joy in her journey. It seems certain she was doing what she wanted to do – doing what God wanted her to do.
The Gospel this weekend centres on the words of Jesus as his death approached, also at age 33, and he says to his friends “I will not be with you much longer” but goes on to tell them that they should love one another as he has loved them. “By this love”, he told them “all will know that you are my disciples”.
Sr Clare’s discipleship is certain as is her witness to love. This “love” takes us beyond ourselves and out of our comfort zone to be better people. It may well be less dramatic than Ecuador, less traumatic than an earthquake but where love is lived, it makes a difference. We see it in the care of a relative who is sick. We find it in the enthusiasm of the classroom, the attentiveness of ambulance crew, the gentleness of a parent cradling a child. Wherever we see it, we notice it and are better people because of it.
How best can we witness this “love” in the coming days? #LiveLife (Donal Walsh’s motto) comes to mind.