We celebrate the life of a compassionate, gentle and sincere Sister of St. Joseph, Claire Veronica Kolbe. Claire was born in Queens to Elizabeth and Rudolf and grew up in St. Pascal Babylon’s parish. After attending the Juniorate, Claire entered the congregation which she loved and faithfully served for seventy-four years.
It is no strange coincidence that we celebrate Claire’s life on the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola. As Ignatius lived his life finding God in all things, Claire’s deep faith allowed others to see God in her gentle and caring ways. Claire was an outstanding educator, initially teaching elementary grades in Our Lady of Sorrows, Holy Name and Our Lady of the Snow, Claire earned a Bachelor’s degree in History from St. John’s University and a Master’s degree in Sacred Scripture from St. Bonaventure. She then taught Religion in St. Joseph High School, Stella Maris and her beloved Sacred Heart Academy.
Claire’s calm and welcoming demeanor was a sign to her students, and all who met her, that God dwelled within her and was indeed present to them. She spent time outside of the classroom ministering in pastoral care at the Neponsit Nursing Home and Peninsula Hospital. Her knowledge of God’s indwelling presence enabled Claire to bear the burden of illness in these last years, accompanied by her sister, Betty and all who cared for her at Sacred Heart Convent and the Maria Regina Residence. Claire held on to the words from Revelations:“Do not let your hearts be troubled, have faith in God and faith in me.” She knew in her heart that God would make all things new and now Claire can enjoy the fullness of God’s presence that she witnessed with her entire life.
Sister Claire Veronica Kolbe died on July 27, 2020 in the 74th year of her religious life.