Sister Deidre Clements
“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:4)
“When I reflected upon the words of Paul to the Corinthians, I thought that we all have one of the gifts, or maybe two, but Sister Deidre Clements seemed to have them all. She was blessed with a keen intellect, was always at the top of her class, although no one seemed to know when she studied, she had a beautiful untrained singing voice, she spoke several languages, was an excellent teacher and deeply loved the Sisters of Providence, her call to religious life and her service to God and his people. How does one do justice, in a few minutes, to one who looms larger than life?” said Sister Catherine Livers in her commentary for Sister Deidre Clements, who died May 15.
Born Oct. 17, 1921, in Washington, Ind., to Raymond and Stella (Hill) Clements, Rosada Clements was one of five children. She attended St. Simon, Washington, and graduated from Providence Juniorate, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind. She entered the Congregation Jan. 5, 1939, and professed first and perpetual vows Aug. 15, 1941 and 1947, respectively. Sister Deidre earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master’s degree in Latin from Marquette University, Milwaukee.
Sister Deidre began teaching in 1941 at St. Francis Xavier, Wilmette, Ill. Her other Illinois classrooms included St. Mary Carmelite, Joliet, and St. Mark, St. Columbkille and St. Leo, Chicago. In Indiana, she ministered at St. John the Baptist, Whiting; St. Joan of Arc and Holy Cross, Indianapolis; St. John Grade School and St. John High School, Loogootee; Our Lady of Providence High School, Clarksville; Central Catholic High School, Fort Wayne; Schulte High School, Terre Haute; and Rivet High School, Vincennes. She spent two years at St. Ann, Washington, D.C.
“Because she was fluent in French, Sister Deidre spent time in France, teaching the Sisters of Providence of Ruillé how to speak English. They loved her and would have liked to keep her there, but she was needed back home,” shared Sister Catherine.
Sister Deidre retired and returned to the Woods in 1993.
“From the stories I have heard at the motherhouse, Sister Deidre has been described as fun-loving, unpredictable and life-giving. She was the unselfish one, always willing to do what it took to make community-living a happy place. She was prayerful and faithful, but if she slid into prayers at the last minute it was because she stopped to help someone or to find water for a stray kitten. She loved the great outdoors, every animal she ever met and was always surrounded with plants and flowers,” continued Sister Catherine.
“Her mischievous side: Sister Richard Bussing said, ‘We never knew what Sister Deidre was up to. Once when she and her sisters were on the third floor of Providence, there was a noise at the window and there stood Sister Deidre on the outside, standing on the windowsill, making motions to be let in.’ And Sister Richard said, ‘We had better let her in for if she falls and hurts herself we will be in trouble.’
“The happy and loving Sister Deidre: Sister Jane Marie Osterholt told me that she was taught by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in grade school and she loved them. She attended Central Catholic High School, Fort Wayne, where five different religious orders taught and there she met Sister Deidre. Sister Jane Marie said that she had never met anyone like Sister Deidre. Sister Jane Marie described Sister Deidre as fun and fun-loving. Sister Deidre demanded that her students be all that they could be, but she loved each one of them individually. Sister Jane Marie shared, ‘She is the reason I am here.’ And for this gift, we thank you, Sister Deidre,” said Sister Catherine.
“During the last years of Sister Deidre’s life, she may not have remembered who we were or what our name was, but she always knew her God. Those who were Eucharistic ministers will never forget the light in her eyes and the beautiful smile on her face as she received Communion. I think that when she traveled the last road on the evening of May 15, God said to her, ‘Welcome home, good and faithful friend. Because you have been such a life-giver on Earth, I now give you my life for all eternity,’” said Sister Catherine.
The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Deidre was celebrated May 21, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. She was preceded in death by all of her siblings.
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