Seventh gift: Faithfulness
Today we bury our Sr. Mary Clare Sekine, OSC and also today we talk about the seventh gift of the Spirit: faithfulness. The faithfulness of God is so prevalent in our lives and especially in the life Sr. Mary Clare.
Sr. Mary Clare was born in Tokyo and entered a Poor Clare monastery in 1948. She lived through World War II and the bombing of Hiroshima as a young lady in Japan. She received eleven years of education at a Canadian mission school in Tokyo and learned French in order to communicate with the teachers.
In 1943 she entered a Catholic college under the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Tokyo, and it was during this time that she entered the Catholic Church and received the Christian name, Maria. She heard the call of God upon her life, and after college graduation “Maria” entered the first foundation of Franciscan Poor Clares in Tokyo, Japan, on November 21st, 1948. On May 31st, 1950 she received the holy habit. She made Simple Profession of Vows on June 3, 1952 and Solemn Vows on May 15, 1958.
After thirteen years of Poor Clare life in Tokyo, she transferred to the Monastery of St. Clare in Greenville, South Carolina in the United States of America. She left all that was familiar because of love—love for her family, now living in California who wanted to visit their cloistered contemplative relative. She tried life in a Poor Clare monastery in California for a brief time, but the desire to follow the poor Christ led her to the Poor Clares in Greenville, South Carolina. In 1977 she proudly became an American citizen and eagerly learned yet another language—English. She remained with the Poor Clares in Greenville, now Travelers Rest, South Carolina, until seven years ago, when she moved to a nursing facility for special care. In all of life’s changes, Mary Clare remained faithful to her beloved Christ and followed wherever God’s Spirit led her. Her answer to her Beloved was simply “Yes.” This was the last word I heard from her lips shortly before she embraced “Sister Death.”
One could say that Mary Clare was a woman who lived an international life with adventures, challenges and “leaps” of faith into an unknown future. We Poor Clares say she was a follower of Christ, who, at life’s turning points, said “Yes” to her Beloved who was her “Faithfulness.”
Faith is the substance of things unseen; the pledge of good gifts to come. May we walk in simple faith like our dear sister, Sr. Mary Clare Sekine, osc.
Sr. Sharon of Jesus, osc