In Remembrance—Sr. Claire (Ann Bernadette) Callahan (1922-2020)

Clare Callahan, SNDdeN, died Sunday, April 19, 2020 at the Notre Dame Long Term Care Center in Worcester, Ma. She was 98.

Sister Claire was born in Boston to Michael D. and Julia A. (Duggan) Callahan.

Sister Claire graduated from St. Gregory's High School in Dorchester, and entered the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1939 as Sister Ann Bernadette.

Sister Claire graduated from Emmanuel College, where she studied English, Education and History. She earned a Master's degree at Boston College in 17th Century English Literature. To enhance her long ministry, Sister Claire completed several other educational programs.

From 1942 to 1962, Sister Claire was a teacher at Notre Dame schools in Connecticut and the Greater Boston area. From 1962 to 1966, she was principal of St. Bernard School in West Newton, MA.

In 1966, Sister Claire responded to the call for Sisters to go to Africa. She went to Kenya with the first group of Sisters of Notre Dame to minister in that country. Teacher training was a priority for the Sisters, and Sr. Claire worked preparing new Kenyan teachers to work in their own country. While in this important work, she became increasingly aware of the struggles of the young African Sisters in the indigenous communities.

Sister Claire began what is still called the Association of Sisterhood of Kenya. The Association was a way for Mother Generals of the young communities to meet, share their problems and work toward common solutions. Many mature leaders emerged among the Kenyan Sisters, and problems that seemed insurmountable were solved. To this day, Claire is is still held in tremendous esteem in Kenya— affectionately referred to as "Our Mother" by Kenyan religious.

In 1979, Sister Claire returned to Massachusetts, for a new chapter in her ministry. She filled several administrative positions for the Ipswich Province of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. She also performed some parish pastoral work.

In retirement, Sister Claire was a freelance graphic artist. She delighted others with her humor and simple, direct communication.

And life was always happiest for Claire when a cat was part of her environment!

Sister Claire leaves her sister Elizabeth Clancy of West Kingston, RI, nieces, nephews and her religious sisters, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. She was predeceased by her sisters, Catherine Marie Foley and Josephine M. Callahan, and her brothers, and Joseph and Daniel Callahan.

She is interred in Notre Dame du Lac Cemetery.



St. Mary of the Annunciation School, Cambridge, MA
St. Boniface School, New Haven, CT
St. Joseph School, Somerville, MA
St. Bernard School, West Newton, MA
Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya
St. Anthony School, Somerville, MA

Service to Women Religious

National Council of Women Religious, Kenya
Religious Superiors Association, Kenya