Maryknoll, NY: Sister Claire Therese Murphy died on November 30th, 2019 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY. She was 97 years old and had been a Maryknoll Sister for 78 years.
She was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on November 21st, 1922 to Mary (McDonald) Murphy and Patrick J. Murphy. She had two sisters, Claire and Mary, both of whom have pre-deceased her.
Claire attended St. John’s High School in North Cambridge, MA and graduated in 1940. After graduating, she attended Burrough’s Business College for one year. She then entered the Maryknoll Sisters Novitiate at the Maryknoll Sisters Center in Maryknoll, New York on July 2nd, 1941 from (St. Peter’s Parish in Cambridge, MA). At her Reception she received the religious name, Sister Mary Claire Therese. She made her first Profession of Vows on March 7th, 1944 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY and her Final Vows on March 7th, 1947 in Los Angeles, California.
Sister Claire’s first assignment was to a children’s home in a Japanese community in Los Angeles, CA from 1946-1949. She was then assigned to Los Altos, CA to serve on the kitchen staff at Mountain View (the Maryknoll Fathers Junior Seminary). She also taught religious education among migrant workers in the area.
From 1951-1956, she was assigned to Hawaii where she taught in St. Michael’s School in Waialua and St. Anthony’s School in Kalihi. She then returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll NY to study at Maryknoll Teachers College (located on the Sisters Center property) receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Education in 1959. After earning her degree, Sister Claire was assigned to the Marshall Islands, there she taught in the grade schools in Likiep and Majuro from 1959-1971. She returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY in 1971 to give Congregational Service in the Development Department.
In 1974, Sister Claire was assigned to Kenya, East Africa, there she taught religious education in Nakuru and served as a staff member at the Sisters dispensary. In 1983, she was assigned to the Sisters Africa World Section House in Nairobi where she served for three years. Sister Claire returned to the U.S. to work in the Congregation’s General Secretariat Office until 1990, when she returned to Nairobi, Kenya to work at the Sisters Africa World Section House.
In 1994, she returned to the Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY and was placed in charge of the Hospitality Office until 2000. Sister Claire then responded to a need for volunteers to work as pastoral agents in the Diocese of Duluth, MN at the Indian Reservation in Cloquet. There, she served as Pastoral Assistant at Holy Family Parish until 2007 when she retired.
Sister Claire generously donated her body to science.
A Vespers Service will be held for Sister Claire Murphy on Tuesday, December 10th at 4:15 p.m. in the Chapel of the Annunciation at the Maryknoll Sisters Center.
A Memorial Mass will follow on Wednesday December 11th at 11:00 a.m. also in the Chapel of the Annunciation at the Maryknoll Sisters Center.