Sr Mary Clara Condon mfic Rest in Peace.

23 May 2019 | General Interest

 Sr Clara Condon mfic, a much loved Missionary Franciscan Sister, died peacefully yesterday. Clara lived at Delamore Retirement Community at Kedron. She moved to Delamore a year ago after many years of ministry in the Merrimac and Kingscliff communities.

Clara entered the Institute in 1949. She passed away peacefully just two days short of her 70th anniversary of religious life. The Franciscan life was central to Clara's way of thinking and living. She had a great respect and love for the Sisters of our Institute, the Franciscan Friars, and the Secular Franciscans. She served as a spiritual companion to the SFO for many years.

After her first profession of vows Clara began her life as an educator. She taught in primary schools before gaining a degree and moving to secondary teaching. In her retirement years Clara gave many spiritual talks to the SFO and parish groups. When she moved to Delamore last year, she was very content with everything provided for her. However, her first comment about her unit was that she would need a bigger desk to be able to continue her work.

Clara served as Principal at Mt Alvernia College, Kedron, for twelve years. She also served on the Board for six years. She taught also at Coorparoo, Silkwood, Bardon and Burleigh Heads.

Clara held many leadership roles in the community: Superior, Australian Provincial, General Councilor. In those roles Clara was recognised a woman of deep faith, integrity and commitment. She was kind, generous and respectful of others. Sr Margaret Costello noted that Clara had very successfully navigated the Australian Circle through the rough waters of the post Vatican II renewal of religious life.

While Clara was never sent to a "mission" posting, she had a heart for our mission in Papua New Guinea. Sr Jo Scanlan wrote:When Clara was Australian Provincial and P.N.G was part of the Australian Province, her support of all that was happening in PNG was exceptional. She boosted our numbers dramatically, recruited lay missionaries for us, organised groups in our schools and in the parishes to raise funds for us and to send parcels, and regularly came to visit us. She was really part of our lives and mission and we loved her for it.

Wherever she lived and served Clara connected to people in her quiet but engaging way. She kept in contact with a wide variety of past members, parishioners, past students and parents, and Franciscans. Clara seemed to have great reserves of energy, and following long days of visiting and engaging with many people, Clara would spend hours on the phone connecting with family, friends, and those she supported pastorally.

Another of the Sisters noted that Clara was an example of how to grow old gracefully.  While we managed to lure her into a"retirement" community at the age of 88, Clara had no thought of retiring.  She simply changed modes of pastoral outreach.  Whenever there was an event at Mt Alvernia College Clara was there chatting with students and staff.  At Delamore she joined in many activities quietly and brought a gentle supportive presence to many. She contined to call and write to many people.

Two weeks ago Clara entered hospital for a simple heart procedure. She hope that she would get a new lease of life so as to continue to live with energy and zest. Unfortunately, it was found that her heart was more damaged than had been thought. Her heart was simply not able to recover. Clara was conscious and talking to the Sisters and her family members just hours before she died. She made her own decisions about her treatment and reached out to others as she always had done.

Clara faced death as she lived - with a quiet dignity and a gentle, accepting faith, courage and determination.

May she rest in peace.

Catherine White mfic
Australian Leader.