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In Loving Memory of
Sister Mary Clare Brunkala

January 28, 1927

Entered Religious Life:
September 30, 1952

Born into Eternal Life:
November 14, 2021

“Let the sisters and brothers be gentle, peaceful and unassuming, mild and humble, speaking respectfully to all in accord with their vocation.”
(The Rule and Life of the Brothers and Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Assisi)

Dorothy Cecilia Brunkala was born in Chicago, Illinois on January 28, 1927 and was baptized a couple of weeks later on the 13th of February at St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr Church. Dorothy was the youngest of six children of Anthony and Catherine Brunkala, both of whom were from Poland. Dorothy had two brothers and three sisters. Years later at the age of ten, Dorothy made her confirmation on October 31, 1937.

Dorothy felt called to the nursing profession and began her nurse’s training in 1950. During this time she heard God’s call and entered the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago on September 30, 1952.

On February 2, 1953 Dorothy became a postulant and later that year on August 12th she entered the novitiate and received the name of Sister Mary Clare. Two years later, Sister made her First Profession of Vows on August 12, 1955 and her Final Profession on August 12, 1960.

Even though Sister Mary Clare had two years of nurse’s training, she was sent as a postulant to teach kindergarten and first grade at St. Joseph School in Calumet, Indiana. As a second year novice Sister taught the second grade at Five Holy Martyrs School in Chicago, Illinois and the following year she taught the first and second grades at St. John the Baptist School in Campbell, Ohio.

In 1956, Sister Mary Clare was sent to Huron, South Dakota to complete her nurse’s training at St. John’s School of Nursing. Sister graduated on June 11, 1957. For the next 28 years Sister Mary Clare ministered as a registered nurse at various places. She was at Atkinson Memorial Hospital, Atkinson, Nebraska, St. Anthony Hospital in Martin, South Dakota, St. John Hospital in Huron, South Dakota, St. Anthony Home in Crown Point, Indiana, Mother Theresa Home in Lemont, Illinois, the infirmary at Our Lady of Victory Convent in Lemont, Illinois, St. Joseph Home in Chicago, Illinois and Mount Alverna Home in Parma, Ohio. At St. Anthony Home, Sister also served as a chauffeur. While at Mother Theresa Home, Sister was Director of Nursing and when Sister served at St. Joseph Home and Mount Alverna Home, besides her nursing duties Sister served as the sacristan.

In 1985 Sister Mary Clare came to live at our Lady of Victory Convent in Lemont, Illinois and until 1999 Sister served as a registered nurse in the infirmary and chauffeur and shopper for the sick sisters. She was also the local secretary for three years and assistant superior for another three years. In 1999, Sister became the sacristan for the motherhouse chapel. She served in this capacity until 2017 when she retired completely and dedicated her time to prayer.

In 2012 Sister Mary Clare was the recipient of the Franciscan Weaver Award. This award is to honor a Franciscan Sister of Chicago who embodies the Franciscan charism and shows Franciscan joy in her daily life. The recipient of this award is a Sister who serves others generously and whose very being is rooted in the Gospel message. She is someone who allows the grace of God to shine through her as she shows the face of God to everyone she encounters. All of this, Sister Mary Clare did exceptionally well.

In the 69th year of religious life and at the age of 94, Sister Mary Clare peacefully entered into eternal life at 1:45 A.M. on Sunday, November 14, 2021, to be with Jesus whom she loved and served with all her heart.