Sister Mary Clare of Jesus
Though I grew up just a half hour from Boston Carmel, it took me a good while longer to get here.
Prayer has always been central to my life. I feel that even if the Lord told me not to pray, I still would have to. During a retreat I attended while in my freshman year in high school, I I experienced a strong sense of joy that spontaneously led me to a decision to dedicate myself to God as a lay person and not to marry. I then began to plan that I would teach in the inner city.
However, in my Junior year I made a further decision to apply for entrance into Carmel, as I‘d come to the conclusion that it was the way I could best give myself to God. During a visit to the monastery, they suggested I wait a year, so I went to work for the phone company.
In Carmel, at the time of my visit, one could not see the nuns, only hear them, and though the voice speaking to me was very gracious, the mystique somewhat unnerved me. Influenced by that experience, I made the decision to enter the Marist missionaries, a group I knew and loved.
At the time I felt a teaching order would be too confining!! God does make everything work out for good. I spent precious years working in some very poor countries, an experience that I will always treasure. One day, out of the blue, I experienced a strong sense that God had something else in store for me and this gave me a great sense of joy. The ‘something else’ would be realized in Carmel.
I returned to the States, and entered Boston Carmel, but the journey wasn’t ended. After a few months in Carmel, I felt I could not do this life. I had been given a five year leave of absence from my missionary community, so I decided to stay in Carmel for the five years, and told the Lord if this was the life to which I was being called, He would have to make it possible for me to live it with conviction, peace, and joy. Though I lived the next five years very happily, when they ended I was still unable to say ‘yes’ forever, so I returned to my former community and was given the opportunity to arrange my life around a schedule of prayer.
It was during another retreat that things became clearer and I became convinced that, though it seemed on one hand, I was being called into a dark place, Carmel would be the place where, with Jesus, the Spirit’s support and guidance, and the compelling invitation of the Father, I would be drawn ever more deeply into the love of the Trinity. And despite my forebodings, it has been just that, – a journey filled with much joy and love. Challenges and dark spots, yes, but through them, light and grace have been overwhelming.
“My soul clings to God, His right hand holds me fast.”