At Age 74, Missionary Sister Still Fights Tirelessly to Help the Poor

National Catholic Reporter, October 21, 2005 | Go to article overview

At Age 74, Missionary Sister Still Fights Tirelessly to Help the Poor


One night, during a torrential storm, Sr. Joan Clare and the other sisters of the Missionaries of the Poor Sisters were praying for guidance from God when there was a knock at the door. As the door opened with a rush of wind and rain, a painfully thin woman stepped into the house. She was carrying a cardboard box,

"As we crowded in around her to see what she had, we were surprised to find a baby inside. It was a newborn, laying on pieces of shredded newspaper, and you could see that he was severely handicapped," Sr. Clare said. "The woman knew that we ran an orphanage. She knew that we represented the baby's only chance for survival."

Sister Clare and the Missionaries of the Poor welcomed the baby as they had taken in so many other needy infants before. They never questioned that God would meet the needs of this child in some way.

"One of the sisters suggested that we call him Moses because he had come to us like the baby Moses in the basket," St. Clare continued.

Although the group of nuns realized Moses had medical needs beyond their resources, they felt compelled to take this first step. By accepting the child, they hoped to keep alive the hope of his eventual rescue.

"We kept Moses as long as we could, praying for God's help, but knowing that we would eventually need to turn him over to someone else. Then, a miracle happened.

A family in the United States came forward with a willingness to adopt the baby. Doors also opened for him to get the medical attention he needed. Now, that baby has a future. He's now in the U.S. where he can get the care he needs," Sr. Clare said with a smile. "God's hand was in it all."

In other cases, the Missionaries of the Poor have themselves become the family for abandoned children in need.

"I think of Julie, who is now three. She's a joy to all of us--always singing and dancing. But her life began quite differently. She was lost and alone, with no one to care for her properly. She was malnourished and fearful when we found her and brought her in," Sister Clare explained. "It's a wonderful thing to see a child grow and bloom as they find peace and security in life. …

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