Who was Clare Kalkwarf?

Father Gérard wrote:
Clare Kalkwarf was the most dedicated and faithful person one could ever have the privilege to meet and I had the great privilege to work closely with her since 1991.

She was a co-founder of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard and if it was not for her, the Brotherhood would never have come into existence and would never have developed to the organisation it is now.

It is not just her unparalleled efficiency and determination to do whatever is possible to alleviate the sufferings of the sick, the poor and the destitute, but is was her very motherly way, which won the hearts.
Although coming from an administrative and business background, she would well deserve an honorary degree in nursing, social work and pastoral care.

When I sometimes was downcast about things not happening or problems which we had to face it was her who always had the stronger faith and absolute trust in God's help.

Her maybe dearest place in the world was the chapel at Blessed Gérard's Care Centre in Mandeni.
It was there where the Dedicated Members of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard had Holy Mass together and only two hours later after a joint supper with the Dedicated Members she went home and was stabbed and shot dead.

I am convinced that she is now looking down from heaven onto us and knowing her organisational talents I am sure that she found out about all the red tape in heaven and is already organising heavenly support for the people, who were entrusted into her care.

Without being presumptuous I just want to quote what several people already told me: "She is one of those unrecognised saints"
I agree with them and I am proud that I could share in her life for such a blessed time.

Father Gérard T. Lagleder O.S.B.
President of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard

Iain Benson wrote on Fri Apr 07 2006:
Last Night Clare was Murdered: Make your Richness Count Today we got an email with the stunning news that Clare Kalkwarf was murdered. The facts are banal in the daily news in South Africa where burglary and violence have become almost normal.

But this was not normal. This was outrage, this was mayhem, and all within the space of time one finger takes to squeeze a trigger and one bullet to plough a hole through the body of a woman who gave only love to those around her.

Clare Kalkwarf was murdered. The phrase is meaningless without the surrounding details. Here are some for those of you who never knew her. For those who knew her, who met her and her quiet confidence as hospice administrator as a person giving herself for the poorest of the poor, these are what makes her death worse than horrifying, that take it to the heights of absurdity and waste.

With Father Gerard Lagleder, a German Benedictine missionary monk and trained nurse, Clare worked as the Manager of a rural Hospice and Care Centre in Mandeni about 12 kilometres in from the coast road one hundred kilometres north of Durban in KwaZulu Natal. Her website is here: http://bbg.org.za/members/Kalkwarf/index.htm

This is the area of Africa with the highest incidence of Aids, 88% and an unemployment rate of over 40%.

Women routinely prostitute themselves until they can no longer “perform” due to the ravages of the disease. Then someone calls the Mission and an ambulance (one of several) will go out to pick them up, often only days before they die. For most of them, picked out of these dirt floor huts surrounded by stench and decay, this is the only comfortable bed they have ever had.

Here, in the “unorganized” areas, fear and violence rule. No police go there. Superstition masquerades as medicine:“Take lemon juice” for Aids, “have sex with a virgin” for Aids. Father Gerard, who has worked there for 15 years, has held babies, BABIES in his arms that die within hours from their wounds, having been raped for “medicinal” reasons. [Clare with a 9 month old baby raped by her own father]

Here is where Clare and her husband worked. ... As a gifted administrator and teacher, she could do things in that amazing work at Blessed Gerard’s that, elsewhere, would have taken several people. I have seen a video of her giving a lecture to the workers at the local factory "Loungefurn" on the dangers of HIV.

What was her work? Take a minute to look at this website. I know, you are busy, life crowds in. Listen, take a minute. There are those who make minutes expand, who make hours days, and days weeks and pack into their lives more living, more care, and more concern than most of us do. Clare was such a person. Take a minute or two to see why.

Here is the website of the hospice, care home, orphanage and source of light in a dark and miserable area. Oh she knew it was dangerous. She could have gone somewhere else. She didn’t and, in a sense, paid a big price for staying there. She was a Christian and knew that it was a price she might have to pay, but then she would say it was a price paid, ultimately, by someone else, a long time ago.

When I spoke with her last, at a pilgrimage for the Order of Malta in France last Spring, she told me how sad it was that the Care Centre could not afford more of the drugs, antiretrovirals, that can so demonstrably extend the lives of young mothers so that they could be longer with their children. She said that this time would make such a difference in their lives. It has always been a struggle for them to raise funds at Mandeni - - they have their work cut out for them with the sick - - fundraising is a massive distraction. Think about that.

Oh, but, excuse me. We need that new fridge. We need that newer car, that set of DVD’s that few will watch and we could rent cheaper. Food that wastes, expensive wines that are not worth the price. On and on and on and on and, because it is the currency of how we all live, we almost don’t see it. Almost.

Clare did not preach. She was a quiet person whose life did the work of preaching. What they are doing at Mandeni is extraordinary. Nothing else exists in that area - - health care exists because the Care Centre brings it. They receive no government money, yet the government social workers use them when their own systems cannot cope and they often cannot.

They go where no other whites can go and their staff of blacks and whites run what looks like a first-world hospital in the midst of third-world squalor and despair and their crisp uniforms and excellent care give dignity and comfort to the dying (about five persons a day die in the comfort they supply).

The fifty or so children (eight of which are dying of Aids at any given time) are happy, being well taught and well loved. The women being taught to sew, who can take their skills back to their homes, can earn money without resorting to prostitution. Their bursary fund gives money to children who are deserving of education but cannot afford it. The work of the Care Centre is a wonderful example of a view of the whole person and community.

To go there is a blessing, to die there is a glimpse of heaven. Clare knew that and now she has gone but the work she cared so much for continues.

Will you take that minute to see what she died for? What are we going to die for? What are we living for? I think we could do much worse than support the same cause she did. We may not be able to go there but we can sure send financial support.

Iain T. Benson©

Pater Gerhard schrieb:
Clare Kalkwarf war ein Mensch, der seine Berufung mit absoluter Hingabe und seinen Glauben mit letzter Konsequenz lebte. Es war eine Ehre, sie kennen gelernt zu haben, und ich hatte das Privileg, seit 1991 eng mit ihr zusammenzuarbeiten.

Sie war Mitbegründerin der Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard, und ohne sie wäre die Bruderschaft nie entstanden und hätte sich auch nicht zu der Organisation entwickelt, die sie heute darstellt.

Es war nicht nur ihre einzigartige Effizienz und Entschlossenheit, alles nur Menschenmögliche zu tun, um die Leiden der Kranken, der Armen und der Verzweifelten zu lindern, es war auch gerade ihre mütterliche Art, die die Herzen gewann.
Wenngleich sie aus der Verwaltung und dem Geschäftsleben kam, würde sie durchaus einen Ehrentitel in der Krankenpflege, Sozialarbeit und Seelsorge verdienen.

Wenn ich manchmal den Kopf hängen ließ, wenn manches nicht klappte oder wenn wir mit Problemen konfrontiert waren, war es immer sie, die den stärkeren Glauben und absolutes Vertrauen in Gottes Hilfe hatte.

Ihr vielleicht liebster Platz auf dieser Erde war die Kapelle im Blessed Gérard’s Pflegezentrum in Mandeni.
Eben dort feierten die Dedizierten Mitglieder der Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard gemeinsam die Heilige Messe, und nur zwei Stunden später, nach einem gemeinsamen Abendessen mit den Dedizierten Mitgliedern, fuhr sie nach Hause und wurde erstochen und erschossen.

Ich bin davon überzeugt, dass sie jetzt vom Himmel zu uns herunterschaut, und weil ich ihr Organisationstalent kenne, bin ich mir sicher, dass sie inzwischen das himmlische Protokoll herausgefunden hat und bereits die himmlische Unterstützung für die Leute, die ihr hier auf Erden anvertraut waren, von oben her organisiert.

Ohne vermessen sein zu wollen, möchte ich einfach zitieren, was schon manch andere Leute über Clare gesagt haben: „Sie ist eine dieser unerkannten Heiligen.“
Dem schließe ich mich an, und ich bin stolz, dass ich eine so segensreiche Zeit ihren Glauben und ihre Berufung mitleben durfte.

Pater Gerhard T. Lagleder OSB
Präsident der Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard

Dr. Andreas Heinze schrieb:
"Clare war ein wundervoller und herzensguter Mensch. Sie hat unseren Grundsatz den Glauben zu bewahren und zu verteidigen und den Armen zu helfen als Mensch, als Mitbegründerin der Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard und als Ordensdame des Malteserordens gelebt wie keine zweite. Und das was die Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard heute ist, ist zum großen Teil auch ihr zu verdanken."

Helmut Pschorn schrieb:
"Für mich war Clare fast wie eine Heilige, ich habe sie sehr geschätzt und lieb gewonnen."

Sr. M. Claudia Damm schrieb:
"... als ich den Zusatz zu Clares Testament las, wurde ich von ihr angesteckt und ich empfand in meinem Inneren eine große Freude über die Erkenntnis, dass die Brotherhood ihre erste Heilige hat."


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This page was last updated on Tuesday, 23 August 2011 00:52:08