God captured my heart – the story of a nun killed in Ecuador's quake

Sister Clare Crockett, an Irish religious sister, was among those who died in the massive Ecuador earthquake on Saturday.

Apr 20, 2016

GUAYAQUIL: Sister Clare Crockett, an Irish religious sister, was among those who died in the massive Ecuador earthquake on Saturday. Her vocation is the story of a woman who left the party life for an “amazing” life in God.

“I knew that I had to leave everything and follow Him. I knew with great clarity that He was asking me to trust in Him, to put my life in His hands and to have faith,” Sister Clare Crockett said in her vocation story, according to EWTN. “It never ceases to amaze me how Our Lord works in the souls, how He can totally transform one’s life and capture one’s heart.”

Sister Clare, from Derry in Northern Ireland, was 33 years-old. She was the voice of Lucy on the long-running EWTN children’s television series “Hi Lucy.”

Residents of Playa Prieta, some 125 miles from Guayaquil, were able to recover the bodies of six members of the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother who died in the earthquake that struck the coast of Ecuador Saturday nigt.

The residents recovered the bodies of Sister Clare; the Ecuadorian candidates Jazmina, Mayra, María Augusta and Valeria; and Catalina, a resident who was 21 years-old.

The women lived on the second floor of Holy Family School in Playa Prieta in Ecuador’s Manabi Province. In recent weeks the region suffered from severe floods, which may have damaged the structure of the building.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake caused the premises to collapse. Five women were rescued alive after the earthquake: three sisters from the community and two candidates. They were evacuated to Guayaquil with various injuries.

Area residents organized a search for those missing.

The Servant Sisters reported that their founder, the Spanish priest Father Rafael Alonso Reymundo, will be traveling to Ecuador with other members of the community to preside at the funeral services.

Sister Clare in her vocation story recounted she grew up at a time of Catholic-Protestant tension and violence in Derry that meant there was “no room for God.” In her mid-teens she aimed to become an actress. By age 18, she partied “a lot” and spent her money on alcohol and cigarettes.

One day a friend asked if she wanted to go on a free trip to Spain.  The trip turned out to be a 10-day pilgrimage with people in their forties and fifties.

“I tried to get out of it, but my name was already on the ticket, so I had to go. I now see that it was Our Lady’s way of bringing me back home, back to her and her Son,” she said. “I was not a very happy camper. Nevertheless, it was on that pilgrimage that Our Lord gave me the grace to see how He had died for me on the Cross. After I had received that grace, I knew that I had to change.”

She entered the Servant Sisters in August 2001 and made her perpetual vows in 2011.

Father José Xavier Martins, pastor of Our Lady of Loreto in Guayaquil, told CNA that the Servant Sisters have been working for eight years at the school. They were getting ready to start the school year. Their school served more than 500 students.

“Everything came falling down. We'll need financial assistance and all kinds of help,” the priest said. “We thank everyone who has been working many hours in the rescue effort. A lot of people have come to give their all to help us.”

The Saturday, April 16 earthquake has taken the lives of at least 413 people and injured more than 2,500, CNN reports.

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