Clare Kalkwarf

Clare Kalkwarf


Wife, mother, business woman, community-builder, health-care worker

CLARE Kalkwarf (nee Sprake) was born in Johannesburg and educated at Potchefstroom Convent High School. She co-founded the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard, a relief organisation of the Catholic Church in South Africa. She was member of the Order of Malta as a Donat of Devotion, meaning that she did not take religious vows, but became a member by virtue of her devotion of time and energy into the work of the order.

Her devotion to works of charity and service in the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard, was formidable. Her main activity was in the direction of the children's home and the hospice. The children's home reaches hundreds of needy children; scores of resident children, some of whom remain only for a few weeks and others who are more permanent, as well as children who benefit daily from the outreach work. The hospice was one of the first institutions to help with the SACBC's roll-out of anti-retroviral treatment, and provides a much-needed bridge between the hospitals and the homes of those suffering with Aids.

Clare Kalkwarf co-ordinated the skills-training project of the Community Development Centre, giving women skills as seamstresses, and co-ordinated the project's bursary fund, which provides educational bursaries for school or university to gifted children of poor parents. She also co-ordinated the fund which helped to pay for medical treatment for indigent patients, from taxi fares to operations. Clare was also responsible for forty children in her beloved preschool, and helped in the work of the malnutrition clinic. In all these projects, as a gifted administrator and teacher, her contribution was at all levels, from fundraising and administration to hands-on labour on a practical basis.

The following extract is from the interview on Radio Veritas with Fr Gérard Lagleder OSB of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard at Mandeni, South Africa, shortly after Mrs Kalkwarf's death.

Radio Veritas: How are people feeling at the Brotherhood in Mandeni at this time? And what was your reaction on hearing of Clare's tragic death?
(Clare was stabbed and shot by armed intruders who had tied up her husband and were awaiting her as she arrived home after an evening Mass and meeting with the members of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard.)

Fr Gérard, It is a very difficult time for all of us, but we are comforted by the fact that Clare is with the good Lord. We are shocked that someone who dedicated fourteen years absolutely to the service of God in the Church, especially in caring for the sick, should die in such a tragic manner.

RV: What was her contribution to the Church in South Africa?

Fr Gérard, She was involved intensely in health care, and was a Board member of CATHCA (the Catholic Health Care Association). She was a founder member of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard, a relief organisation of the Catholic Church in South Africa. She had been a pillar of the organisation for over fourteen years. For the last ten years she was our full-time manager. She worked tirelessly to ensure that the poor, the sick, the afflicted children and the destitute were served and helped in the best possible way. She was a Dame of the Order of Malta, acknowledged for her extreme diligence in her work. She was the recipient of the silver medal from the Order pro Merito Melitensi. However, more valued than any earthly award, she was greatly loved for her kind and caring ways. If you asked the orphaned children at our Children's Home, `Who is your mother?' They would answer, `My mother is Auntie Clare.' She was like a mother to many of our volunteers, too, and a counsellor. Although coming from an administrative and business background, she would well deserve an honorary degree in nursing, social work and pastoral care, so dedicated was she to caring for people. Clare will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

Clare Kalkwarf is survived by her husband, Geoff, and her adult children: Sean, Leon and Heather.

With acknowledgement to the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard, and Fr Gérard Lagleder.

This page was created on 26 April 2006 and last updated on Sunday, 31 March 2013 22:49:56

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