Mrs Clare Ann Kalkwarf's funeral took place
Tuesday, 18 April 2006,
at Blessed Gérard's Church, 61 Anderson Road, Mandeni

Clare Kalkwarf has stated in a codicil to her last will and testament:
"I ask that this occasion (her funeral service) be a happy one
with light and happy music and no black is to be worn, except as part of a uniform -
as this is a celebration of a new beginning and not an end."

Clare Kalkwarf's body lay in state from 9 a.m.

A Holy Requiem Mass was be celebrated at 14:00 hrs / 2 p.m.

Clare Kalkwarf further stated in the same codicil: "The main celebrant should be ... Rev. Father Gérard Tonque Lagleder OSB".

We thank His Eminence, Cardinal Napier and the administrator of the Diocese of Eshowe, Father Ndaba for their kind and uncomplicated way to step back and thus fulfil Clare's last wish.

(from left to right:) Dr Paul Thabethe, Sr Thuli Thabethe, Deacon Thomas Müller, Fr. Gérard Lagleder O.S.B., Wilfred Cardinal Napier, Diocesan Administrator Fr Jabulani Ndaba, Abbot Godfrey Sieber O.S.B., Fr Benjamin Sithathu, Fr Ruprecht Wolf O.S.B., Fr. Sipho, Fr Peter Blue O.S.B., Graham Sprake

Father Gérard's Sermon

Once upon a time, my dear friends, there was an old man in the hill country of Zululand, and he was one of those old people who was very wise and therefore many people came to him asking for his advice - somehow like Clare, who had so many people coming to her for advice -. And the name of this old man was Solomon. And this old wise man in the hill country of Zululand was taking a nap at noontime in his hut. And as he was sleeping - all of a sudden - he heard a sound which we hear now from the children of our Children's Home up there on the balcony, it was a bit louder actually, it made "waa, waa, waa". As he was going outside the hut he found a little bundle and that little bundle was crying and when he picked that little bundle up from the ground it was a little child and he thought: "Might be a mother has come to ask my advice and let me see, where the mother is, and he went behind the hut and he looked and he could not find her, and he waited the whole day and she didn't come back. So he kept that little bundle of humanity, that little boy with him, and because that little boy was given to him like a miracle, he gave him the name of Mangaliso. What should he do with the little Mangaliso some how he found out because he was so wise he knew where to get advice how to feed the little Mangaliso. And this little Mangaliso stayed with him, very much like the many children in our Children's Home. Mangaliso was one of them. And like Clare looked after so many of such children, Solomon looked after the little boy Mangaliso. And when he grew up and he became actually like every little child is very interested in what is going on the world, and therefore he asked those thousand questions, which only three year olds can ask. And one of the questions I would like to tell you what happened:

"Mangaliso watched the swallows as they were flying about in the sky, up and down, hither and thither. He was amazed that they could all move so swiftly and safely in the air, never touching each other. And he said to Solomon: "I have never seen a swallow drop dead out of the sky onto the earth." Solomon told the little one: "The birds are more firmly in God's hands than the animals of the earth are. When it gets cooler in our part of the world, the swallows fly to the north across the sea where there is summer. One day they flew crowded in large swarms across the vast ocean. Yet when they were half way across, one swallow dropped out of the flock and fell back. She was too weak for the long flight. The poor swallow saw her sisters disappear further and further into the distance, and eventually she was all alone. Above her the clear sky, below her nothing but water. She fluttered aimlessly over the endless stretch of water becoming weaker and weaker. When the last strength of her wings left her, she plummeted down and the sea received her. That is the story of the swallow that plunged into the sea." And, he added: "The swallow has not fallen out of the hand of God, because He even holds the sea in the cup of His hand." "God even holds the sea in the cup of His hand," repeated Mangaliso, filled with wonder." (quoted from "Mangaliso" by Albert Herold)

We can never fall out of God's loving hands and that was a central part of Clare's faith. She trusted that we are in God's hands. And what happened on the 6th of April? Where was the hand of God? This question, I suppose, many of us have been asking, but there is only one answer. And the one answer is that the hand of God was underneath her, like the sea, which is in the hand of God, and received her, when she fell. God is there for us in the worst times, which you and I can't even imagine. In the worst time which Geoff had to go through being an ear witness to Clare being murdered. We can never fall out of God's loving hands.

My dear friends, this is the faith which was a characteristic for Clare. In a codicil to her last will she wrote: "I ask that my funeral service be a happy one with light and happy music ... as this is a celebration of a new beginning and not an end."

What a Easter faith! This is Easter faith pure! She was convinced, even if I am going to be dead one day, please don't cry, because I am going to be happy. I am going to be in those hands of God and as we all belief that in the moment of our death the hands of God are waiting for us to receive us in the one big divine hug of Christian resurrection.

Our faith is dead, if it is not put into action. Clare's Easter faith was so strong and she put it all into action :

I could carry on with the endless litany, with an endless litany of good deeds of Clare, but they all sum up in putting into action, what Christ wanted us to do and this was her special and personal vocation, that we love one another as Christ has loved us.

I think I can sum up Clare's life if I may in the words from the bible: "A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends."

Clare laid down her life for her friends, for her family, for those who were entrusted into her care and she was an absolute tireless example of somebody who would never ever would give up, who never ever would take "No" as an answer, if there was a "Yes" to be given to somebody, who needed help.

We are here to celebrate the life of Clare. We are here to celebrate the resurrection of Clare. We are here to celebrate the faith of Clare and to say a huge huge huge big "Thank you" to her, to thank her wholeheartedly for what she has done for each and every one of us, and I suppose there might be very few amongst us here, who have not benefited in one way or another from Clare's loving care.

Clare dedicated her whole life to put into action what she prayed daily in the Prayer of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard:

"Lord Jesus Christ, Through your grace you have called me to serve you as a member of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard. I thank you for counting me worthy of this task. I ask you humbly, with the intercession of Our Lady, St. John the Baptist, Blessed Gérard Tonque and all the Saints that the spirituality of our Brotherhood may pervade my life and my actions to be always dedicated to your service in my family, my friends and whoever needs my help. Trusting in your help I always want to protect the faith and have an open heart for my neighbour, especially the Poor, the Sad, the Lonely, the Handicapped and the Sick. Grant me the strength needed to live according to this resolution as an upright Christian selflessly in the Spirit of Your Gospel. For the honour of God, for the peace of the world and the benefit of our community. Amen."

The Administrator of the Diocese of Eshowe, Father Jabulani Ndaba, acknowledged Clare's tireless work for the Church in the Diocese in the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard:

"On behalf of the Diocese of Eshowe I would like to take this opportunity to thank is Eminence, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, for honouring us with his presence as he is the highest authority of the Church in Southern Africa. He wears so many hats: He is the Cardinal, the Archbishop of Durban, the chairperson of the Bishops' Conference and the last one, the Administrator of the Diocese of Umzimkhulu. Baba, we are so honoured with your presence in our midst. Normally at celebrations like this, when the highest authority of the Church, the highest authority is the one who presides over whatever celebration. He is a humble man. He respected Clare's wish that Father Gérard be the one who presides over her funeral service. He is a man of a great sense of humour. He is down to earth. So we are so glad to have a young Cardinal. We are very glad here in Southern Africa. Most of the cardinals are a bit too old and they don't get around that much, but we are lucky and fortunate that our cardinal is able to mix himself with the people on the ground. So he is full of humility. Thank you very much, your Eminence! We really appreciate your presence.

To my brother priests, who have come, who heard the call, that one of the members of Blessed Gérard is fallen, they have come to join us at this celebration to bid farewell to Clare. She has done so much for the Diocese simply by being here whilst this hospice is one of the biggest projects we have in the Diocese, she has been part and parcel of this project. With dedication and commitment. So on behalf of the Diocese as we bid her farewell we ought to say "Thank you!" Life des not end in the grave. Now she is at a better place where there is no pain, that she might have suffered at that moment, where there is no suffering, where there is joy and happiness. We should also pray for this hospice, the people who work here, the children and all people who life here being taken care of.

To the family, Geoff and children. On behalf of the Diocese I would like to thank you, the family, for allowing Clare to share her life working for the Church, share her life with the hospice taking care of faceless people like no one in the community. She would not have done that if you had not allowed her do do it. So we really appreciate that on behalf of the Diocese. May God bless you and may Clare be a good angel to the family and to Geoff. Now prays for you much better. She is closer to her creator.

Father Gérard, I know your heart is heavy. You lost a companion, a co-founder of this hospice, a friend. I was not too sure whether you will hold out to celebrate without tears, but having heard all these positive things that filled you rather with joy than sadness, the moments that you shared with Clare, with Clare at this place, looking after these people. Actually where she is now I am sure she is smiling as she wished that you will be the main celebrant and also that all the members here she smiles she smiles. She said "nobody should be sad but filled with joy and song. I think you have fulfilled her wish. May God bless you all!"

Final commendation

Wilfrid Cardinal Napier, the chairman of the Southern African Catholic Bishop's Conference and Archbishop of Durban said the final commendation and emphasised in moving words Clare's exemplary role in the Catholic Church of South Africa and the need to prevent further violence through total commitment to the intangible sanctity of human life, which Clare had dedicated her life to, especially at Blessed Gérard's Hospice.

"I know I am not adressed to give a eulogy, but I thought perhaps that I need to explain that I have come certainly to be with the family and with the community here at Blessed Gérard, but I am here also as Father Ndaba has said as one of the highest authorities of the Catholic Church in Southern Africa. Well, as the situation in our county and in the countries around us is such that we have to make a statement. When somebody how spent the best part of 24 hours looking after those who are struggling to keep their body and soul together, struggling against the effects of HIV and AIDS, and that person has her life taken away, than not a week later, this morning's newspaper front page "Two people found dead off the highway in Cape Town" and driving up here I listened to the news another four bodies found in Philippi in the Cape. There is a pandemic of killing, an utter disregard for the value of life and here we are celebrating Easter, the great Feast of Life. The feast that should be giving everyone, not just we who believe, but everyone too, what they see us rejoicing about .. A real faith and a real confidence that life is the most precious gift that one could possibly give. In fact, it is not just a gift it is God's presence that he moved into each and everyone of us. So I am hoping that together with you I can stand for life against this anti-life mentality that is getting a hold of our whole country and it is only if we, who believe, that we have this share of God's life in us, and that is goes further than simply being physical life. It is a spiritual life. And if we take it serious, then we are convinced and we can pass it on to others, when they believe then we will make a difference. I heard a wonderful little proverb on the radio yesterday morning It says, if you think that you are too small to make a difference try sleeping in a room with a hungry mosquito. I think it is a wonderful way of saying to us: Never ever despise the impact that you can have if you are convinced, if you are hunger to tell people about this precious gift that God has given us, then I don't think that they will ever believe that you cannot make a difference.

We are here because this person Clare made a difference in the lives of so many people. I don't have to tell you what a difference she made. There are so many others who can tell you from first hand experience. And if you will take away just that one idea from this day that we are going to be witnesses to the value of life, I think we can make a difference. And that difference is to go much further than simply protesting and tough talking and checking our place every time we get into conversation of bad things there are in our country. I think we must be more serious than that.

We have a law in our statute book, which says that the life of a baby in a mother's womb can be taken lawfully, legally, quiet, o.k. As long as that is on the statute book I cannot see how we as a people can actually say we object to the taking of life as Clare's life was taken. I don't see how we can say this. We see our parliamentarians carrying on as if nothing has happened, as if they are not responsible for inflicting on our national psyche the scar that we as a country allow the killing of innocent babies. How can we argue later on and say "but it is wrong to kill somebody" just because they are not yet born?

I think we have to make a difference. Change the mind setting in our own minds than we can change it in others and eventually like that mosquito we will make them sit up and think and sit up and act and I believe when we do that we will certainly start bearing ... like the disciples standing round Jesus after he had risen and after he appeared to them: Go now and tell the whole world that I am risen and that a new life has appeared on earth and you have a share in that life and you are witnesses to that life.

Let's not allow Clare's death, Clare's sacrifice, to be in vain. Let us also stand for life. Blessed Gérard is a symbol. This hospice is a symbol of people who are saying "no matter how threatened, how weak, how subject to the disease of AIDS and opportunistic disease that come with HIV I am looking that the smallest life it is worth struggling for It is as if I .. you are standing up and saying "this is only this part of your life and than a new life comes, a life that will last for ever. That has not exactly been a eulogy but certainly a call for us to make a statement that we are .."


Clare's son Leon, speaking on behalf of the family gave this great and moving Eulogy:


I am going to say a few words after which I invite any one to stand and share a short message with us.

Mom has asked us to make this a happy occasion. So Mom, if I do shed the odd tear its normal as I didn’t always listen to you anyway.

In Moms codicil to her will she asked people not to wear black unless as part of a uniform. I must thank you on her behalf for respecting her wishes.

Reading through all the emails which I received over the past week there is a reoccurring theme which struck me. Almost each and everyone of the e-mailers stated that they remember Mom with a smile on her face. These were people from all backgrounds, of all ages and from all over the world. They were from people who saw mom the day she passed away and from people who had not seen her for many years.

We, and I mean many people do see today as a celebration of a good life. This is borne out by this wonderful gathering of people which I see before me and from all the message from people around the world who could not be here today.

Mom always wanted the best for people. She proved to be a loving wife, a wonderful mother, a real friend, a great leader and a true confidant.

Mom's remarkable journey started in the Johannesburg area where she grew up. In her late teens she met my father and the 2 of them eventually moved to Rhodesia where Sean and I were born. As a family we returned to South Africa where Heather entered this world. The next phase of her journey brought Mom and Dad to Mandini to start their own business. It was here that I believe that Mom found her true calling. She has achieved so much in the last 13 years with the Brotherhood. Mom was always quick to show how proud she was of her family and of many people. Mom, I think it is safe to say that today we are immensely proud of you and all you have achieved throughout your life.

I wanted to read a verse as it sums up this celebration and Mom’s life beautifully.

We remember a life today and all that made her who she was - all that delighted her, that made her laugh or moved her to tears, calling to mind her story, and the many lives she touched along the way.

We honour a life today- her outlook, her inner strength, and the things that she believed in- recognizing her goodness, her uniqueness, her own special gifts shared generously with the rest of the world.

We celebrate a life today and her connections with family and friends and all who loved her- feeling enriched for having known her and so grateful for our time with her, for the way she affected us... inspired us... and affirmed for us this is how a beautiful life should be lived.

Mom, Clare, Mrs Kalkwarf, Mrs K, Aunty Clare. You will always be very much loved and missed. May you rest in the peace you so richly deserve, knowing that you have touched so many people and that you leave us with so many special and loving memories."

Victor Claudius paid tribute to Clare is his unique way

Dr. Douglas Ross who sat on the board of the Catholic Health Carers' Association of South Africa CATHCA with Clare, said words of appreciation for Clare's involvement in Catholic Heath Care on a national level.

One of the volunteers at Blessed Gérard's Care Centre added an emotional vocalist's tribute.

Finally hundreds of  people who had come to attend the funeral said their last farewell in front of the mortal remains of Clare at Blessed Gérard's Church.

Clare further stated in the codicil to her last will and testament: "I further request the remains of my body should be interred. (Not cremated) If it is at all possible, I would like to be buried in the grounds of Blessed Gérard's Care Centre & Hospice, 61 Anderson Road, Mandini."

With special and exceptional permission by the administrator of the Diocese of Eshowe and čNdondakusuka Municipality Clare's wish could be granted and we hereby express our special gratitude to them for this.

On request of Clare Kalkwarf's husband and children the Rite of Committal at the burial site took place later this afternoon at 16:20 within the close family circle.

A last farewell when the grave was filled by Father Gérard, Angelika Müller and Susanne Stauffer.

This page is part of the Clare Kalkwarf Homepage of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard

Back to the homepage of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard

This page was created on 19 April 2006 and last updated on Friday, 07 December 2012 02:33:57