Sister Claire Rita McDonald, CSJ

(Sister Philip Mary)

August 31, 1927- December 10, 2023

In the 77th year of her Religious Life

Entered: September 8, 1947

We Remember Her
In the rustling of the leaves
And in the beauty of autumn


’Graciousness is what carries you – graciousness marked by kindness, courtesy, compassion, and a generosity of spirit.’’

To me, this word- GRACIOUSNESS epitomizes Sister Claire McDonald!   

All during her life Sister Claire demonstrated these qualities of graciousness. From her early days in the family with her siblings as the daughter of Philip and Mary, I imagine Sr. Claire tendered attention to the needs of her siblings and parents and provided support to each one.

As a sister of St. Joseph, Sister Claire (Sister Philip Mary) was recognized initially as a proficient teacher. Not only was she a skilled educator, but she was a member of a staff who said yes when asked to take on activities in the school that were not of her choosing. At Keith Hall – when asked to coach the basketball team when there was no coach, Sr. Claire said yes!

Through her seventy-six years of religious life, Sister Claire also provided her competence in varied secretarial ministries, working from the Jesuit Community to the Archdiocese of Boston, Fontbonne Academy and Executive Secretary to the President of our Congregation.

However, I believe Sister Claire loved the role of Auntie as the best and most favorite of her ministries… offering to be a loving, compassionate support to her brother, Philip, in the care of his children, when the need arose after his wife’s sudden death. This period gave Claire a deep understanding of motherhood and as the years went on, she continued to shower her talents and giftedness to her other nieces and nephews and their children.

To the day of her death, this love and dedication was Claire’s mantra!  My appreciation of this familial love was so evident on the day of Claire’s death. The appearance of the Mc Donald clan witnessed in the physical presence of her nephews, nieces, and their families at the hospital last Sunday was incredible. Truly, they loved Aunt Claire, as she loved them!

Psalm 116 reads – Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of God’s faithful ones.

Truly, this sentence was a call and invitation to Sister Claire McDonald. Throughout her 96 years of life – 76 years as a Sister of St. Joseph, Sister Claire McDonald followed God’s call, was attentive to God’s will for her. She utilized her talents and skills as she served God’s people, always presenting her persona as a gracious lady!

Sister Claire, as expected of her, planned her funeral- readings, hymns, and details. In her written wishes, she even offered words for us from one of our Maxims.

Have one desire only:  to be what God wants you to be, in nature, grace and glory, for time and eternity.”

Maxim #73

As we continue to live our daily lives reflecting our memories of Sister Claire McDonald, let us remember her words for us, and join in gratitude for the joy she is now experiencing in the presence of her loving God and family in heaven.