Sister Claire Frances Fitzgerald, CSJ
Sister Claire Frances Fitzgerald, CSJ, 90, died Friday, December 2, 2011, in St. Peter’s Hospital, Albany. She had been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for the past 68 years.
Sister Claire, the former Claire Margaret Fitzgerald, was born on July 6, 1921, in Brattleboro, VT, daughter of the late John and Marion Denning Fitzgerald. She graduated from St. Michael’s High School in Brattleboro and attended The College of Saint Rose, Albany. On March 19, 1943, Sister Claire entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph and professed final vows on August 15, 1948. She received a bachelor’s degree in Latin and a master’s degree in elementary education, both from The College of Saint Rose. Sister Claire taught for 23 years in elementary schools in the Albany and Syracuse Dioceses and served for 24 years in the Albany Diocesan School Office as curriculum coordinator, assistant to the superintendent, and director of personnel. In the 12 years previous to her retirement, Sister Claire was a pastoral minister at Cathedral Parish in Albany. During the last 8 years of her life, she generously volunteered in many capacities at St. Joseph’s Provincial House in Latham.
Sister Claire Frances was a devoted and caring Sister of St. Joseph with an unwavering commitment to the ministry of Catholic education. She enjoyed classroom teaching and brought energy, enthusiasm and love of learning to her students. As a parish minister, she dedicated her life to the people of God through her gentleness, respect and compassion. Sister Claire was a woman of integrity and determination, kindness and patience. Wherever she was, she shared her wisdom, her humor and her trust in God’s providence. Sister Claire’s life journey and joyful spirit enriched many lives, and she will long remain in our hearts.
Sister Claire is survived by her dear brother, Jack (Lee), of Brattleboro, VT; her nephew and nieces: Timothy Haus of Brattleboro; Midge Gembarowski of Brattleboro; Sue DeGraff of Sacramento, CA; and Karen Haus of Washington, DC; her grandnieces and grandnephew: Jessica Justin, Katrina Gembarowski, Alexa Gembarowski and Daniel Haus; her great-grandnephew, Simon Henry Justin; her great-grandnieces, Louisa Claire Justin, Eliza Jane Gembarowski and Amelia Noël Gembarowski; and by her beloved Sisters of St. Joseph. In addition to her parents, Sister Claire was predeceased by her sister, Ann Whitman.
Sister Claire’s funeral Liturgy was celebrated on Tuesday, December 6, in the chapel of St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham. Interment was in Our Lady Queen of Virgins Cemetery on the Provincial House grounds. Contributions in Sister Claire’s memory may be made to the Development Office of the Sisters of St. Joseph, 385 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Latham, NY 12110.