Peace be with you!
My name is Sr. Mary Claire of the Holy Family, and I am a sister with the Society of our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT). I grew up in Nashville, TN, and was surrounded by sisters all my life. I had the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia throughout grade school and high school, and when I was 11, the sisters of Mercy built their retirement convent across the street from my house, where we would often go for Mass on the weekends. I felt God’s gradual call beginning in seventh grade. A relationship with God has always been an integral part of my life; definitely a gift of His grace. I had planned to enter the Nashville Dominicans after I graduated high school, but my parents asked that I go to college first, as they sensed (rightly so) a lot of fear in my decision. So I decided to attend Franciscan University, where I majored in elementary education.
While at Franciscan, I came to realize that I had built my whole relationship with God around what my vocation would be. I had a huge fear of marriage, and came to realize that I not only needed to discern marriage but also build a better relationship with the Lord. As I told a friend, “how can I marry someone I don’t even know, including the Lord?” In the midst of this, I providentially met a brother of SOLT, which became something we call in community a “graced friendship.” During my semester in Austria, where I announced to all my friends I was not going to be a sister and not discerning religious life, and where Christian Marriage changed my life, I met the sisters of SOLT.
My time at Franciscan gave me the time to know myself and come to a deeper relationship of love with the Lord without the self-imposed pressure of vocational discernment. Friendships with classmates helped me grow in confidence, and the Lord used friendships in SOLT to gradually lead me to desire to want to be a part of what I could see. Family and friendships were the initial draw to SOLT, and then I began to see how the Marian Trinitarian spirituality of SOLT was what He had made me for. I was drawn to the fact that SOLT had all the vocations- priests, sisters, lay members both married and single, serving together wherever is needed.
I wasn’t quite ready to enter after graduation, so I decided to volunteer with SOLT after I graduated. I found the idea of mission work daunting, so I decided to test it out by serving at the SOLT mission on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, ND. I knew by September I was at home and entered aspirancy the next year. I professed first vows in 2007 and final vows in 2012.