Sister Clare Lentz has a ministry of prayer and presence and is a mentor in the Gonzaga University graduate Spiritual Direction and Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Living (SEEL) programs in Spokane. She says she has a "call within a call" to a life of ministry and prayer.
Now a spiritual director for the Sisters of Providence and a practitioner of healing with energy work, Sister Clare lives in Yakima, Washington. She also is a Vocation Team member.
Her interests include reading theology and spiritual books, listening to music, and recycling old greeting cards. For exercise, she swims and walks.
What does Providence spirituality mean to you?
The basic thing for me is that God really is with us on this journey of life. It is a personal journey that each of us makes, all of us make together. For me, trust in Providence developed very early in my life. My parents had such deep faith and trust in God’s plan for their lives and our lives as their six daughters. They sacrificed much so that we might all have the gift of a Catholic education.
How have you seen Providence in your own personal journey?
My own personal journey with Providence has been the most significant factor in my life because my journey has been pretty much a dark one. I wanted to be a sister since fourth grade. I knew I loved God and wanted to help God’s people. (In those days, we weren’t very aware of discerning different religious communities, e.g., contemplative or apostolic.)
When I graduated from high school I stayed home for three years. I just wasn’t ready to leave the security of home. Finally I went to Seattle University. After a year and a half there, I felt ready to enter religious life. My novitiate was a real coming home. My early years in ministry were spent teaching high school and doing parish work as a director of religious education and adult education.
My greatest love was leading the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults process. Although I enjoyed this ministry immensely, seeing God’s action in so many persons’ lives, my health broke. My healing process was long. But throughout this time of darkness, our Provident God’s hand was at work. Gradually, I began to recognize and live a call within a call. This was a call to contemplative prayer life.
Being in an apostolic community, it was difficult to trust that this was God’s Providence for me! But God was persistent and faithful! And our community confirmed this call. It is a call to pray for our community and the suffering of the world, especially those who lack the basic necessities of life.
How is Providence significant in your life?
My life has no meaning without the gift of Providence. It is at the core of who I am. When I think of my expression of Providence today, I’m open to look for God and to look for the truth wherever I may find it. And this is not only in traditional ways.
For example, the Christian Reiki that I have gotten into has been built on my past. It’s the first time I have a real integration of body, mind, spirit, ministry and contemplative core. When I do a Reiki session, for me it’s contemplative prayer. It’s just a great joy. So when I look at Providence, I look at it in terms of the whole cosmos, what God is about in healing this universe of ours.
That seems to be the journey that God is taking me into right now. Through Christian Reiki, I am a conduit for Christ’s healing hands.
How does your spiritual direction help people find their spirituality?
My spiritual direction comes out of a desire to bring about the fullness of the reign of God. When I do spiritual direction, in terms of our Providence spirituality, I have such a deep trust that God is working in every single person and bringing them to wholeness and holiness. If I can just be a tiny instrument of God’s work, I am grateful. My part is to be Christ’s presence to whomever comes.
Do you see Providence connected with earth spirituality?
The healing that happens in you and in me is happening in the earth, as well. We and the earth — it’s all one. We are one organic being. Providence spirituality touches all living things because we’re all interconnected and interrelated. Monica Hellwig has an image which describes well for me the Providence connection to earth spirituality. She says we are all the guests of God’s hospitality.
How do you see Providence in connection with our Mother of Sorrows?
She represents all of the suffering women of the world. When I do my spiritual direction, that’s a lot of what I am doing ? standing with our Mother of Sorrows in that person’s pain and journey. This image speaks to me of Mary and it speaks to me of the deep compassion of our Mother of Sorrows. That is very central to who I am. I find strength from her for my own journey, and I ask her to help me stand by Jesus in whomever I am ministering to. Our Mother of Sorrows is an essential part of our community’s Providence spirituality.
What is your motivation?
It’s our motto: "The love of Christ impels us." The love that Christ has shown towards me is so powerful that it overflows. I pray daily for an increase of God’s love in my heart, and that I might have the compassionate heart that Jesus had. I’ve been loved so much, I have to love. I do believe that is what motivates me. I don’t understand why our Provident God chose me, but I’m awfully glad She did!