Tony Rossi, Director of Communications
Tapping Into Holy Courage
March 21, 2021
It sounds like the kind of thing you’d see in a movie, but it really happened to Sister Ave Clark, a
retreat leader, pastoral counselor, and founder of Heart to Heart Ministry. Sixteen years ago, a
120-ton runaway train slammed into her car while she was driving in Queens, New York.
Hospitalized for close to a year, Sister Ave endured a lot of physical therapy before she was able
to walk again. During that time, she was sustained by the Scripture from Romans 8: “Nothing will
ever separate us from the love of God.” And she kept telling herself, “Small steps will get me back up again. [I’m] going to do it. Have courage.”
Tapping into “holy courage,” as Sister Ave calls it, is an ability many people need right now in light of the coronavirus pandemic and the challenges it’s created. That’s why she has written a book called “A Heart of Courage: The Ordinary and Extraordinary Becoming Holy.” We discussed it recently on “Christopher Closeup.”
Though some may associate courage with bravado, Sister Ave points out that it can be exhibited in a variety of circumstances. She writes, “Like love, courage is not conceived in the mind, it emanates from the heart…And it comes in many forms. It was the courage of devotion that inspired Mary when she accepted her calling from Gabriel…It was the courage of humility displayed by Jesus, when although battered and beaten, He told a bewildered Pilate of the limitations of his power, thereby sealing His fate on the cross…Yet courage need not be so extraordinary. We can find it in the times and places of our everyday lives. In hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and in our own homes.”
For many years, Sister Ave has done her best to help others find their holy courage. She offers pastoral counseling to post-abortive women, parents who have lost a child due to miscarriage, people with post-traumatic stress, victims of crime, survivors of suicide, survivors of abuse, those dealing with depression or grief, and more. The secret to her success is listening.
Sister Ave said, “There are people who [called] me on the phone that had gotten very depressed during this pandemic. Some of them had lost loved ones. What I found is the holy courage to be able to listen. Not to tell somebody else how to feel, not to give them false hopes. [But] just to say to them, ‘I’ll be there with you.’ With so many people, that boosts them up.”
In conclusion, Sister Ave offers a few ideas for people who want to tap into their own holy courage: “The first thing is to take some quiet time during the day. Put your worries, and even your losses, not aside, but hold them in your heart…and know that the Creator’s love is there with you and He’s holding them with you. I think the second thing we could do is get outside a little more. Call a friend, or of course, they can call me, if they go on my website, just to chat. I have people across the United States that call me, and I just listen and let them know, ‘I care about you.’ I think the most wonderful gift we could give to anybody to help them understand their own courage is to say, ‘I can’t take away your loss or your problem, but I can say I care about you.’”
You can reach Sister Ave through her website at www.h2h.nyc.
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