Remembering Sister Cecilia Clare Bocard
She began taking piano lessons in the first grade and organ lessons in the third grade.
You could say that music was in Sister Cecilia Clare Bocard’s blood.
Sister Cecilia Clare was born Frances Ava Bocard on April 13, 1899, in New Albany, Indiana. She entered the Congregation in 1916 and was a Sister of Providence for 78 years.
Sister Cecilia Clare earned degrees in composition and piano from the Bush Conservatory of Music, located in Chicago. She also received a degree in music education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.
Sister Cecilia Clare taught piano, organ and composition at the college for 47 years. Even more astonishing, she played the organ during Mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception from 1929 until 1994.
She composed many pieces the Sisters of Providence still sing to this day, including “Our Lady of Providence.” She also wrote “The Woods Wedding March,” for SMWC alumnae brides.
In 1956, Sister Cecilia Clare composed “A Cycle of Psalms,” a choral performance written in honor of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Sisters of Providence of Ruille, France, as well as marking the 100th anniversary of the passing of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin.
An award-winning composer who was often referred to as “the sister with the dancing feet,” Sister Cecilia Clare received an honorary doctor of letter from the college in 1983.
In addition, she was honored by the Indiana House of Representatives in 1987 for her contributions to music and education, and was also honored that same year by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis for her contributions to total Catholic education.