Coffee, Wine, & Peacocks
St. Thérèse Week would not be complete without a brief note about a young woman who dedicated her vocation to the Little Flower, Sister Claire Metrejean, MC.
Yesterday we celebrated ONE MONTH of AskAuntKatie.com [clinking champagne sounds in the background.] Today I'd like to take a minute to share about one of my inspirations and biggest fans, my baby sister Claire. Of course, not a sister by birth--as an only child you get the great privilege of picking your siblings. Claire was my roommate for 2.5 years before she moved out to join Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity.
This website is the culmination of our hours of late night/early morning conversations over wine and coffee. Literally wine and coffee--when Claire moved in the house she was working the night shift as a nurse at our local Heart Hospital (so fitting). She would come in from work and have a glass of wine when I was just getting up to start my day (so much coffee). The reverse would happen at the end of the day.
As two single Catholic chicks in our 20s we had much to talk about--faith, books, boys, tv, boys, saints (New Orleans and Holy), boys, wine, doubts, drinking wine with boys, hopes, dreams, short stories, and tall tales. Keeping all the names and locations and aliases and acquaintances straight as we caught up on two decades worth of anecdotal gold was always a challenge. Claire thought we needed a chart or map to keep track of all of the laughs. That storyboard would eventually be turned into a book--with all of the names changed to protect the innocent.
Our friendship, like most life-changing friendships, began with that simple acknowledgement of Oh--it's not just me! Finding commonality in a world that is increasingly hostile is a treasure. Claire and I related as Catholic women trying to balance work, social lives, faith lives, spending time with family, giving back to the community, trying to take care of ourselves... you know generally trying to have it all... but also being repeatedly overwhelmed by the beauty and grandeur of the Catholic faith. We talked for hours about how to live fabulously in the world without being of the world. We were beyond the Martha vs. Mary debate and much more worried about how to be a badass like Judith but throw a dinner party like Esther.
Those conversations, adventures, tears, failed recipes, wine, and laughter have inspired this blog. My little sister died suddenly and unexpected on April 9, 2016. I pray every day for Sister Claire's heavenly intercession. I ask her to pray for you too.
I miss you, Sis! And I'm super excited we believe in the Resurrection! See you then,
P.S. The first time I was able to bring myself to write about Claire was 14 months after her untimely death. That blog was originally published on TheCatholicOutpost.com on June 12, 2017. However that blog post requires a little epilogue:
One of my student interns spent part of his summer working with the Missionaries of Charity in India (casual.) Upon his return to the states he said to me "Sister Claire wanted me to give you this" and handed me a small package wrapped in Indian newspapers. I thought... how sweet, and I will definitely need to open this later when I'm alone so I can have a good ugly cry. I couldn't wait until I got home and opened the package at a stop light on the way. He had given me a small marble peacock! How beautiful and fitting I thought... I had just published my first blog about Sister Claire "My Baby Sister and the Peacock." [The Peacock is an ancient symbol of the Resurrection.] I called to thank him for such a thoughtful gift, and he informed me there was actually more to the story...
While at a famous marble shop near the Taj Majal he felt compelled to purchase a small marble figurine of a peacock... he did not plan on buying the peacock and immediately had buyer's remorse trying to reconcile why he spent his rupes on something he didn't really want and didn't know who to give it to--his girlfriend? his mom? At dinner it crossed his mind--I could give it to Katie... wait no, why would I give it to Katie... that's just weird. Needing a break from missionary life he walked over to a cafe to check Facebook, etc. and as he opened his newsfeed, what should come upon the screen--a huge picture of a beautiful peacock, from my blog about Sister Claire. He said, "Apparently the peacock was for you all along."
Without further ado, here is that blog from last June: My Baby Sister and the Peacock