HOPE IN THE LIFE OF MOTHER CLELIA
“Yes, my God, it is because you delay in hearing me that I have hope that you will listen to me; the more you push me away, the more I will abandon myself, with confident fervor, into your paternal arms.” (Mother Clelia)
Testimony from the Positio
Christian hope arises from the practical and historical reality of God’s promises since the creation of the world, proclaimed and guaranteed in full by the resurrection of Christ. For Mother Clelia, hope was a true program of life, freely chosen, and an attitude of constant and trusting expectation of the fulfillment of these promises.
Hope as Love for the Will of God
At every moment of her life, Mother Clelia gave witness to firm adherence to the Will of God, in which she always placed great hope. She always felt herself to be a daughter of God, Creator and Father, abandoning herself completely in His arms. This abandonment was like a lead wire in her life; this vision led her to be strongly convinced that God would take care of her, whether it be in her future, in the future of the Congregation, or in and the future of those entrusted to her.
A witness affirms:
“The Servant of God continually manifested her hope in God: both when he gives, as when he takes away, because she perceived that the Father sees everything and that, in His own time, he intervenes and provides, in aspects both human and spiritual.”
Hope in eternal happiness
We know that faith in Christ makes hope become a certainty, above all in regards to salvation; hope then gives a broad perspective to faith and carries the soul toward true life. One can certainly say that Mother Clelia possessed an unlimited hope; in fact her eyes were always fixed on the goal of paradise, looking to the saints, those intercessors who preceded her in heaven. She often reflected on supernatural realities and nourished a deep hope of attaining her eternal recompense.
Mother Clelia writes in her diary:
“…You know well, O my dear good Jesus, that the pains and the trials that You Yourself send me frighten me so much. Nevertheless, I resign myself to them and I want to suffer, if each of my sorrows and expiation can be a manifestation of my love for You. I recall all the acute sorrows, pains, anguishes, and sadness that have accompanied my everyday actions in the course of my life. What indignations, what troubles, and difficulties I had to endure, but what glory I would give to my Jesus and I myself would merit heaven.”
Hope and prayer
To her exercise of hope, Mother Clelia joined her exceptional spirit of prayer, that is to say, the first drew impetus and reinforcement from the second. The greater the difficulties that presented themselves, the more intense became her prayer.
One must take note of her strong relationship and her intimate and constant dialogue with the Lord Jesus in the dimension of prayer, profound and fully surrendered. This helped her to interpret every event in the light of hope, even those that appeared to exceed her own strength, exhorting her Sisters to put their trust in the merits of Jesus Christ and not in those of their own.
A witness recalls:
“I think that, knowing how to accept and wait, in prayer, for a solution to complicated problems regarding her daughters and the Institute, shows how alive, stable and solid in her was the virtue of hope. Mother Foundress, in the most difficult moments of the Institute, was accustomed to say: ‘Let us pray, let us accept, and let us make reparation.’”
Hope during anguish of the spirit
There was a period in Mother Clelia’s life in which the difficulties regarding herself and the foundation of the Congregation grew to be so oppressive that she was impelled to go into exile away from the very Congregation that she founded. It was a most sorrowful time, but also very heroic; not for a moment did Mother Clelia cease to hope, confident that she would worthily overcome the trials and someday return among her daughters.
A witness confirms this:
“She was always sustained by theological hope, especially in the distress of her spirit, above all in the sad years of her exile from the Congregation. She always hoped and prayed that the problems would resolve themselves and once again find harmony, which would allow her to return to the spiritual family that she founded. Her firm hope was repaid with her eventual return to the Congregation after many years of waiting.”
During her exile, it was precisely the virtue of hope that helped her to overcome poverty, precarious health and all the sufferings of her spirit. Witnesses that speak of this period of her life remember her as optimistic and full of divine light; only the presence of this fervent hope within her was able to keep her from giving up in desperation, even in the darkest moments.
It is impossible that a virtue so radiant not be contagious. It made of her a beacon of hope to those who knew her.
Witnesses attest to this:
“About hope, may I say that Mother grounded her hope in God and encouraged whoever was in hardship, directing them towards the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, assuring them that if they did so with living hope and absolute certainly in the goodness and power of God, they would obtain many graces.”
“I remember, like a refrain, one of her sayings: ‘Continue to trust and hope against every hope, in the power of the Sacred Heart.’”
The hope of Mother Clelia was indestructible. She lived fully surrendered in the arms of Divine Providence, without ever losing the certainty of being always and everywhere assisted by God, maintaining serenity of character, peace of heart, and patience in the midst of unspeakable trials.
It is clear that the only goal that Mother Clelia had fixed in front of her eyes was the enjoyment of God: as the Alpha and Omega of life, as the beginning and end of every aspiration and every work, and as the goal and the means to achieve it, and thanks to Whom we reach the end.
To think about:
1. What does the hope of Mother Clelia say to me?
2. What can Mother Clelia say to the people of today who feel lost in the face of evil and violence that surrounds them, and discouraged because they feel powerless?
3. How is it possible for me to live hope as she lived it?