Mother Antonia

December 1, 1926 - October 17, 2013

From Beverly Hills to La Mesa Prison

Mother Antonia, born Mary Clarke, was raised in a well-to-do family in Beverly Hills, California. Before her religious calling at the age of fifty, Mother Antonia married and divorced twice and raised seven children. After her father passed away, she took over his office-supply business and thrived in real estate. However, she struggled in her second marriage because of her busy lifestyle. During this difficult time, Mother Antonia gravitated to charity work with the poor in Southern California and Mexico. Early on she worked with a priest, Monsignor Anthony Brouwers, who strengthened her faith and would later inspire Mother Antonia to her calling. A year after he died, she went on a trip to Tijuana with a priest from Pasadena to deliver medicine and supplies. They then stopped at La Mesa Prison, one of Mexico's most infamous prisons, to drop off donations. Mother Antonia began to visit the prison more often. In 1978, she moved into a bunk with the women and later into a 10 foot by 10 foot cell. Mother Antonia wrote her own vows and sewed her own habit and became a Catholic nun. She made it her passion and goal to serve to the needs those in La Mesa Prison including prisoners and guards. She especially cared for the poor and those cast away. Among countless things, Mother Antonia provided advice, hugs, prayers, medicine, and food. She worked tirelessly to improve conditions in La Mesa and to attend to the needs of every person she met. Mother Antonia later founded the Eudist Servants of the 11th Hour, a religious group for older women who have a deep love for Jesus Christ and seek to help the poor.

"Life is a boomerang - what you do for others comes back to you.”

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"Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others," Colossians 3:23

I chose this quotation from Scripture because it talks about passion for what you do. This quotation applies directly to Mother Antonia because everything she did for others was out of love and passion to help. She did not do this for herself but rather for God through His power and guidance. God called her to carry out His work and she gladly did.

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Original Holiness

Mother Antonia's life explicitly demonstrates God's original plan for human beings through her relationship with God and others. Mother Antonia constantly seeked truth and happiness throughout her life. The source of her joy was rooted in God and came from Him alone. Her dedication and hard work to improving the lives of those in La Mesa Prison, especially prisoners who were outcast, also demonstrated God's original plan for human beings through her relationship with others. In spite of her various health problems, Mother Antonia was always eager to serve others and did so with love and compassion. She viewed all people, even those who committed terrible crimes, as good and loved by God. Her goodness and faithfulness radiated and impacted all those she met.
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God's Old and New Law

God's Old Law taught foundational principles for a just society through five themes. Mother Antonia's work demonstrates three of these themes: respect for private property, just distribution of wealth, and special concern for the vulnerable. Mother Antonia recognized and showed through her work that every person is entitled to goods needed to live a dignified life. Moreover, she knew that it was her duty as someone with more wealth to share with those who do not have anything or as much. Mother Antonia's work highly focused and demonstrated special concern for the vulnerable. She cared for the outcasts in society: murderers, rapists, etc... She paid undivided attention and infinite love to the poor and needy. Mother Antonia provided comfort and met the basic needs of prisoners, guards, and everyone else she worked with. The New Law completed the instructions of the Old Law and instructed humanity how to live as citizens of the Kingdom of God. Therefore, the same themes can be seen in the New Law. Mother Antonia went above and beyond what the laws stated by loving every single person no matter what they did and giving them the respect they were entitled to. Jesus also taught that material possessions are meant to be shared with everyone, not just a few. Mother Antonia fulfilled both God's Old and New Law through her work in La Mesa Prison.

Corporal Works of Mercy

Mother Antonia's work demonstrated justice in all of the Corporal Works of Mercy. The seven works include feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick, visiting prisoners, and burying the dead. Mother Antonia strived every day to meet the basic needs of every inmate at La Mesa in the 30 years she lived there. Among the numerous things she did at La Mesa, Mother Antonia distributed medicine to the sick (e.g. aspirin), gave food and water to prisoners in need of it, and held funerals for all of the unknown dead. Outside of La Mesa, Mother Antonia ran a shelter for poor women called Casa Campos de San Miguel. She received countless donations of food, clothing, and drinks every month which all went directly to the prisoners of La Mesa, their families, and the needy of Tijuana. In addition to meeting the basic needs of every person, Mother Antonia provided spiritual and emotional support. Mother Antonia demonstrated all of the Corporal Works of Mercy through her actions and words.

Continuing Mother Antonia's Work

The website for the Eudist Servants of the 11th Hour (the religious group she founded) is: eudistservants.org. Here you can read about Mother Antonia, learn about the Eudist Servants of the 11th hour, find out about events, sign up for the newsletter, donate money, and find out how to become a sister. Mother Antonia's work can also be continued by striving to live by her example of love, humbleness, and generosity.