Sister M. Anna Clare O'Connor, CSC

(August 5, 1923 - June 4, 2012)

Word has been received of the sudden death of Sister M. Anna Clare (O’Connor), who died at 1:30 a.m. on Monday, June 4, 2012, in Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center, Mishawaka, Indiana.

On the occasion of Sister Anna Clare’s golden jubilee in 1994, Sister Frances B. O’Connor (her younger sister and also a Sister of the Holy Cross) was invited to give the reflection. In it, Sister Frances referred to her sister as a “Valiant Woman,” as described in the 31st chapter of Proverbs. It was true of Sister Anna Clare then and is even more appropriate today, almost two decades later.

Sister Anna Clare worked diligently for 20 years teaching in elementary schools, then 12 years as a high school librarian. In each of these ministries she shared her gifts and gave generously of her time and compassion. That was just the beginning of her gift of self; she lovingly cared for her ailing parents for five years and then continued giving of herself to a myriad of other ministries without counting the cost. No matter the task, she willingly and valiantly accepted the challenge. Whether preparing retreat talks, writing her newsletters, or tackling such mundane chores as laying carpet or cooking meals for 20 retreatants, she gave with all the energy she had.

Sister Anna Clare was a woman of many talents and could multitask with amazing alacrity. She was recognized in and out of the congregation for her tremendous ability to organize events both large and small. This was illustrated in her planning of the first diocesan-wide conference, “Building Bridges and Healing Hearts,” when she worked at the administrative level in the diocesan office in Gary, Indiana. She also organized multiple fundraising activities to support her ministry as foundress and director of Angela House, a retreat center in Michigan City, Indiana, that provided spiritual and physical nourishment to all who came. Each new ministry assignment had its own challenges, but in her focused and methodical way she looked at the whole picture, then patiently introduced changes to make the best use of the resources available. She was very creative in recycling things before it became the popular approach to conservation and sustainability.

Sister Anna Clare’s thoughtfulness and loving concern endeared her to family, friends, co-workers, staff and all to whom she ministered. This giving spirit inspired many to become involved in her efforts and to support her numerous and worthwhile projects. She spoke her mind honestly and was a strong advocate of the poor, willing to make personal sacrifices to provide aid where it was needed.

Her devotedness ran deep and, as the eldest of the 10 O’Connor children, she wanted to be available as one they could look to for love and support. With this same intensity she loved the Blessed Mother, who held a special place in the spiritual fabric of Sister Anna Clare’s life. Each day she faithfully prayed the rosary and in the evening her last prayer was the dolor beads. She found great strength in quiet prayer and depended on this spiritual wealth throughout her life. Her prayer life now becomes a face-to-face reality that continues gloriously for all eternity. Sister Anna Clare now rests in peace.


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