May 31, 1923 – August 28, 2020
Sister Claire Schmitt, 97, a member of Annunciation Monastery of Bismarck, ND entered eternal life Friday, August 28, 2020, following a cardiac arrest.
The Mass of Christian was held Wednesday, September 2, 2020 in the Chapel of Annunciation Monastery.
Sister Claire (baptized Bernadette Ann) was born May 31, 1923, with her twin, Bernice, in St. Martin, MN as the third and fourth children of the twelve children of Peter and Mary (Klehr) Schmitt. Sister Claire and Sister Miriam, her sister, celebrated their 60th jubilees together. They were among the first class of novices at the newly established Annunciation Monastery.
Bringing credits from a number of colleges, Sister Claire was a member of the first graduating class of the University of Mary (Mary College). She taught grades 5 through 11 in Catholic schools in Mandan, Bismarck, Dickinson, and Flasher, ND. Various ministries of religious education, parish ministry, pastoral care and home care took her to Belgrade, MN; Linton and Garrison, ND; Timber Lake and Trail City, SD; and the Tule River Reservation, CA. She also tutored students in the Learning Skills Center at the University of Mary and assisted in coaching Taiwanese and Vietnamese Sisters studying at the University of Mary as she provided the support they needed to meet their goals. She cited her work on the Cheyenne River and Tule River Reservations as well as her experience of teaching English as a second language to sisters at Mtwara Secondary School in Tanzania, East Africa as interesting highlights of her life.
Sister Claire was a storyteller and regular letter writer in staying connected with family and friends. Well informed on current events and generous with her time and assistance, Sister Claire was a gifted seamstress, pen pal to incarcerated individuals, caretaker for sisters in need, solicitous helper for the disadvantaged, and ready friend to monastery employees.
At the time of her 70th jubilee celebration in 2018, Sister Claire stated, “Among God’s best gifts to us is the call to spread the Good News of His Love.”
Sister Claire is survived by her sisters, Eleanor Otremba of Maple Grove, MN and Louise Heurung of New Hope, MN; two brothers, Rev. Silverius of Sauk Rapids, MN and Joseph (Delores) of Paynesville, MN; sisters-in-law Anna Schmitt and Katie Schmitt; numerous nieces and nephews; and the Sisters of Annunciation Monastery.