Claire de Castelbajac was born on October 26th, 1953 in Paris. She grew up in the Gers, in a deeply Christian family. Her parents gave her a solid religious education. From childhood, Claire was marked by illness. At four years of age, acute toxicosis almost killed her, and she felt the after-effects for a long time. Then she experienced a succession of ailments: intestinal infection, pulmonary congestion, diphtheria, etc. These health problems did not diminish her joie de vivre. As soon as she was old enough to understand it, her mother invited her to offer her sufferings to Jesus, to endure them by thinking of Him. From the age of eight, Claire expressed her life plan: to be holy.
At the age of 12, Claire became a boarder in Toulouse with the nuns of the Sacred Heart. After high school and a university year in Toulouse, she left for Rome in 1972, where she passed the entrance exam of the Institut de Restauration. In the Italian capital, Claire experienced freedom and independence and faced temptations, especially against purity. She began to repeat this invocation: “O Mary Immaculate, I entrust to you the purity of my heart. Be its guardian forever.” Claire would, however, slip in the wrong direction: that of an artificial and disorderly life. The reflection of one of her friends as well as a failure in her studies pushed her to return to the right path, this time of spiritual warmth will have served as purification.
Claire desired more than anything to transmit God to others through her joy and happiness. In 1974, she made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land which affected her deeply and caused her to take great steps in her spiritual life. She understood that "Christian charity is to love others because God loves them". Claire was sent by her school to Assisi to participate in the restoration of frescoes in the Basilica of Saint Francis. She worked on the frescoes of her patron saint, Saint Clare of Assisi, of Saint Martin and of the miracle of the host. During this period, the girl stayed with the Benedictines, where she followed the services and immersed herself in meditation. She read the works of Charles de Foucauld with keen interest. Everything served to bring her closer to God. In fact, when she went home, Claire was transfigured, she radiated joy and said: “I am so happy that if I died now, I believe I would go straight to heaven, since heaven is the praise of God, and I am already there.”
A few days later, she was struck by rapid viral meningoencephalitis. On December 30, 1974, Claire made a pilgrimage to Lourdes, where it seemed that she had an invisible and secret conference with the Virgin Mary. On January 22, 1975 in Toulouse, Claire left this world to enter life.
In 1990, the official inquiry was opened with a view to her beatification. On February 16, 2008 it was closed at the diocesan level and the decree of validity was signed in Rome in 2009, Clare was declared Venerable. The Church is now waiting for a miracle for her to be proclaimed blessed.
As a child, Claire expressed her dream of life to her father: “You know what I want to be later? Yeah, I guess so. You want to be a nun. No, it's stronger than that. So I'm not guessing... I want to be holy! That’s more than a nun, huh? .”
As a teenager, Claire wondered about her future and she dreamed of missionary life: "And instead of going to bring the Good News to his poor so that they suffer less, we remain in a good chair, by the fire, quietly [...]! This is unacceptable, when so many peoples are waiting for us to bring them Christ!”
Claire lived by the love of God and never ceased to want to witness and share it: “I want to be a living praise to God. I want to be completely dedicated to God. How do I know what he wants from me?”
Back from the Holy Land, she said: "I discover the love of God, immense, astonishing and simple […] I feel full of divine joy".
All of Claire's life seems to be characterized by joie de vivre and intense happiness. Throughout her life, her words, found in his letters, express this deep joy that grew as her soul approached God. “I am happy, more than anything in the world! "," I'm happy, happy, happy! "," I am very happy! I have too much happiness, it overflows. Do you want me to give you some? “I am full of happiness!”
A few days before her last illness, Claire said to her mother: “I am happy! I love life so much! But do you realize how happy I am? How good God is! […] I am ripe for great things but I don't know which ones. "
During her life, Claire visited the Cistercian abbey of Boulaur (Gers) only once or twice. It was a grace that she gave from Heaven to this small abbey, which allowed the opening of the beatification procedure.
In 1979, Father Abbot General of the Cistercian Order visited the Abbey of Boulaur. He needed to decide the future of the community which, for want of vocations, was in danger of closing. On the advice of the mother superior, the father read a book on the life of Claire de Castelbajac. In the morning, he announced to his superior that he was convinced that Clare was holy, that she was canonizable, and that we needed to ask her for a sign to be able to open a process for her beatification, this sign will be 5 vocations in the year. The Sisters obeyed without believing, but the 5 vocations arrived. The community regained a new momentum that continued over time. It was the community that was entrusted with the postulation of the Cause. Moreover, in 2004, the Archbishop of Auch asked the sisters to welcome Claire's body in their church.
O God of Love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we worship you and we thank you for having given us, in Clare of Castelbajac, a model of Christian life.
Your grace made her discover that our vocation to happiness begins on Earth.
We ask you, through the intercession of our Mother, the Virgin Mary, whom she so loved, to glorify in the land of your Handmaiden Claire, so that the secret of her joy, rooted in love and trust, may illuminate our time, radiate on youth and arouse fervent vocations of love.
Also grant us, through her intercession, the grace that we ask for from your merciful love, Amen.