Biographies

Sister M. Felicita Clarke, MM

Born: January 8, 1885
Entered: September 7, 1921
Died: May 24, 1959

I write now to request your prayers for the soul of our dear Sister Mary Felicita. As we were making ready to begin our retreat on Trinity Sunday, we received word from Bethany that Sister had passed away about 2:15 in the morning, Sunday, May 24th. The message came as no surprise for Sister had been ill for many days. The end came quietly and peacefully, we were told, a blessed release after the long months of suffering.

Sister Mary Felicita (Kathleen Rosalie Clarke) was born in Hoboken, New Jersey on January 8, 1885. Before entering Maryknoll, Sister was employed as a secretary by Gardiner and Class Publishing Companies in New York City over a period of seventeen years. This business experience evidently helped to develop habits of systematic organization that Sister used to such fine advantage in the various administrative tasks that were entrusted to her after profession.

Sister Felicita entered Maryknoll on September 7, 1921, and was professed on April 19, 1924. In the years that followed, Sister served successively as Field Afar Office Supervisor, Councillor and Secretary General, first Local Superior of the Motherhouse, Hawaii Regional Superior and Superior of St. Catherine’s Convent in Honolulu; and finally, as Superior of the community living at Crichton House.

It was during her term at Crichton that Sister’s failing health made it necessary for her to ask to be relieved of her responsibility as Superior. During the past few years, while recent events seemed less real to Sister, her memory of the earlier days remained very vivid and, as the decennials returned, she looked forward with joy to their visits to Bethany.

Those who lived in the convents with Sister Felicita know of her kind thoughtfulness of others, her unfailing loyalty and her wonderfully sympathetic understanding of the Sisters’ work and problems. The extent of the contribution which Sister Felicita made to the Maryknoll Apostolate is known only to God, but those of us who follow after her realize that it was no small measure. Apart from our Constitutional obligation and privilege to offer suffrages for her soul, we owe a debt of gratitude to Sister Mary Felicita and the other pioneers who worked side by side with Mother Mary Joseph to lay the sound foundation upon which our phase of the Apostolate can be carried on.

And so I commend Sister’s dear soul to your good prayers. Tomorrow morning with Mother Mary Columba, some of us will interrupt our retreat to drive from Regina Maris to the funeral. The Requiem Mass will be sung at Bethany and then Sister Mary Felicita will be laid to rest beside Sister Perpetua, – like their namesakes in early days of the Church.

Pray that Sister, whom God called home on Trinity Sunday, may soon enjoy His Beatific Vision.