Welcome to CECIM‎ > ‎

Sister Maura Clarke

One cannot write about the life of Sister Maura Clarke without talking about the communities that shared in her smile, her hopes and especially her actions which allows us to live our lives today.
At CECIM, we have continued the humanitarian legacy of Sister Maura Clarke, gathering, strengthening, and multiplying her actions of love and commitment before our Brothers and Sisters.
Holders of smiles and justice are the ones in need of our enterprising and fair action to continue their studies to learn about the culture and national identity, to initiate an activity that enables them to earn their daily bread in a fair and honest manner. Sister Maura Clarke assisted in the development of these young individuals and the society around them.
CECIM has been and we will continue to carry on the work of Sister Maura Clarke, so that her smile, joy and enthusiasm will prevail for years to come.
Biography of Sister Maura Clarke:
Sister Maura Clarke was born on January 13th, 1931 in Bronx, New York. She was baptized with the name Maria Elizabeth. Her parents were Juan and Maria Clarke and she was the oldest of three children. After finishing high school and a year at the university, she entered the noviciado of the Sister´s of Maryknoll in 1950. At the end of her studies, she became a teacher at Maryknoll in 1954.  Her first missionary work was taking care of children at the San Antonio Bronx parish school from 1954 to 1959.
In 1959, Sister Maura Clarke was on a mission to Siuna, on the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua, where she worked until December 1964 as a teacher and afterwards as the director of Maryknoll. She supervised this community from 1965 to 1968. She was very fond of the people of Siuna and dedicated herself to working with the poor and the students of the school.
In 1970, Maura went to Managua to work in the parish of Santo Domingo. She helped form the first communities in the parish and made many connections in the area. After the earthquake in December 1972, Maura chose to live with victims of the earthquake in camps which were set up along the Southern highway, sharing in many of the difficulties with the people.
In 1973, to help the people living in these camps, Maura started working in OPEN - 3, now referred to as Ciudad Sandino. She assisted with the formation of the community, of its leaders, catechesis and catechumenates.
The character of Sister Maura Clarke´s dedication, her love and total selflessness was always apparent to the people displaced in OPEN - 3. She accompanied them in their sadness, their happiness, their fights - for water, for a cemetary - and their triumphs. 
In 1976, Maura returned to the United States to work on awareness programs, regarding the oppressive role the U.S. government played in Nicaragua and El Salvador. In meetings and conferences, she always told the truth about what happened in Nicaragua, she also worked with solidarity communities and others that supported Nicaragua. 
After she finished this work, Sister Maura Clarke returned Nicaragua for the first anniversary celebration of the triumphant Sandinista revolution in July 1980. In August, she left for El Salvador in order to respond to the needs and emergencies that were considered priorities by the congregation. Maura offered to accompany Sister Ita in her pastoral assitance to the refugees in the Chalatenango after the death of Sister Carla. After a meeting with the congregation in Nicaragua, she returned to Chalatenango to continue her assistance work. Then on December 2nd, 1980, Sister Maura, along with Sisters Ita, Dorothy, and Jean were murdered.
The communities in Nicaragua, especially Siuna and Ciudad Sandino, as well as its Brothers and Sisters, will always remember Maura as a woman of imense faith and humbleness, one who always smiled, had an affectionate heart, an incredible gentleness, and an extraordinary quality of always having the time to listen to every person. Maura lived among the poor, was profoundly Christian, and because of this, was prepared to sacrifice everything, even to give her life for her Brothers. 
Her life fulfilled the word of Jesus:
The greatest love you can show is to give your life for your friends.” (John 15:13)