Sr. Bernie Claps in Her Own Words
I was born and grew up in Brooklyn, NY, a borough of New York City. I attended a Catholic grade school and high school. I had wanted to be a sister since I was in grade school. All of my teachers were sisters. They always impressed me as being holy women –woman who had a close relationship with God and lived a life of service to others. At nineteen, I entered a missionary community because I felt a desire to serve others in other countries. During my time in the novitiate my mother became seriously ill, and as an only child, I felt that I was needed at home. It was a deep disappointment, but I thought that that perhaps God was not calling me to be a sister. Finishing college and graduate school, I began a successful career as a social worker which was also a wonderful way to serve people. Social work has allowed me to serve people of all ages and different circumstances in a variety of ways including direct service, program development, and administration.
The desire to be a sister, however, always remained in my heart although quietly. Years later, God began to reignite that desire. Things began to happen in my life that made me think that becoming a sister was still possible. I began to explore and discovered the Sisters of Bon Secours. Getting to know them and beginning a formal discernment process with them, led me to feel that God was calling me to be a Sister of Bon Secours. Our charism of compassion, healing and liberation resonated so strongly with my personal and professional values.
I am extremely happy with my choice. Deep down it feels so right. It is a great blessing to be in community as a Sister of Bon Secours and to be able to live out our charism by serving in the various ministries that I have been able to do. Being a sister is an important part of my own spiritual journey as I seek to continue to deepen my relationship with God.