Sister Clare McBrien, RSHM, previously known as Sister Jerome, died at Marymount Convent, Tarrytown, NY, Thursday, January 26, 2023. She was 87 years of age and had been a member of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary for 68 years.
She was born Patricia Clare McBrien in New York City, NY, on March 21, 1935, to Samuel and Maureen Devaney McBrien.
She received a BA in History from Marymount College, Tarrytown, NY, and an MA in History from St. John’s University, Queens, NY.
After graduating from the Academy of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Park Terrace, NYC, she entered the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary at the RSHM Novitiate in Tarrytown, NY, on September 8, 1952. She made her first vows on April 18, l954, in Tarrytown, where she also made her final vows on August 23, 1959.
Sister Clare began her ministry in education teaching at St. Anne’s School, Garden City, NY (1954-1965). She served as principal of St. Colette’s School, Rolling Meadows, IL (1965-1970), Marymount International School, Rome, Italy (1970-1972), and Marymount International School, Paris, France (1972-1977). She also taught at Tremont Community Council, Bronx, NY (1977-1978).
In 1975, the RSHM General Chapter called each province and region of the congregation to send sisters to minister in an area with high levels of poverty and illiteracy and with few sisters. After researching areas around the world, the Eastern American Province identified southwest Virginia’s Appalachian region as the place where the province would serve. Three years later, Sister Clare and three other sisters went to Speedwell, VA to begin the new RSHM ministry in the underserved community of Appalachia.
While living in Speedwell, and later in Wytheville, VA, Sister Clare and the other RSHM worked in community development with the Lutheran Church in America, the Evangelical Church in America, and the Ivanhoe Civic League (1978-1992).
She worked with the Catholic Diocese of Richmond’s community development programs, and with the Diocesan Peace and Justice Center. She was also an ecology educator for the Diocese (1993-2006).
She was inspired by the Appalachian people’s great devotion and closeness to the land and, after retiring, she was able to devote more time to ecology and sustainability.
In 2014, after living in Southwest Virginia for 36 years, Sister Clare moved to Marymount Convent, Tarrytown, NY. She continued to educate people about ecology, sustainability, and human connection to the land. She was responsible for the construction of the RSHM Native Garden in Tarrytown.
Sister Clare is predeceased by her parents and by her sister, Catherine Shine, and brother, Stephen McBrien; survived by her sister, Frances McBrien, and her nieces, Marie McBrien and Elizabeth Shine, and by the members of her religious community.
Services will be held at Marymount Convent, 32 Warren Avenue, Tarrytown, NY. Visiting is Monday, January 30, from 4:00 – 7:00 pm with the Vigil Service at 7:00 pm. Mass of Christian Burial is Tuesday, January 31, at 10:30 am. Burial will be at Mount Calvary Cemetery, White Plains.
We ask all non-RSHM attending to please wear a mask.
We invite you to join us for the live-streamed Vigil Service and Mass on our website (www.rshm-east.org), where they will be archived.
In lieu of flowers, gifts in her name may be made to Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, 50 Wilson Park Drive, Tarrytown, NY, 10591.
Sister Clare taught my 7th grade class at St. Anne’s during the 1957-8 school year.
Beyond that experience, we knew nothing about her until now. Thanks for sharing her exemplary life story.
Sister Clare was the principal of Marymount International School in Neuilly (Paris) when I was still in grade school (early 70s). I remember her as a supportive and positive, smiling adult figure while I was in the 4th and 5th grade. this was important for me as a young boy in a new country, new community, new school.
My parents became close friends with her and kept in touch for the many years that followed.
She is remembered fondly. Her friendships and leadership roles, across so many circles, run wide and deep. She was inspirational in her positivity, humanity, and humility. Her legacy is a full and busy place.
With affection and rememberance,