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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Marie Claire Kearney, SSJ, 87, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania

Sister Marie Claire Kearney

Marie Claire Kearney, SSJ, 87, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on Friday (Feb. 11, 2011).

She was in her 69th year of religious life. Born in Bradford on Jan. 15, 1924, the daughter of the late Genevieve and William Kearney, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph from St. Bernard Parish, Bradford on Feb. 2, 1943 and professed her final vows on Aug. 15, 1948.

As she celebrated her 60th Jubilee in 2002, Sister Marie Claire attributed the powerful influence of the Sisters of St. Joseph when they taught her at St. Bernard School in Bradford, PA as what led her to join the Congregation. Sister Marie Claire had strong loyalties to family, her Irish heritage, Saint Vincent Health Center and her congregation. She traveled four times to Ireland and especially loved visiting Kate Kearney’s cottage. Her wit was well known and much appreciated.

Sister earned a diploma in nursing from Saint Vincent School of Nursing and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Villa Maria College, Erie. She studied at the Medical Ethics Institute at St. John University, New York, N.Y. She also studied and received certification in purchasing and materials management at St. Louis University; hospital logistic management and central service management from the American Hospital Association; cardiovascular management and inhalation therapy management and techniques at The Cleveland Clinic; operating room management and techniques at St. Mary’s Hospital, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, N.Y., and studied at the Psychiatric Nursing Institute at Seton Institute, Baltimore, Md.

Sister Marie Claire served at Saint Vincent Health Center, Erie, for 52 years in various capacities: senior vice-president, assistant administrator and director of the operating room and central supply/inhalation therapy. While in charge of the operating room physicians knew ‘she ruled’ and were compliant rather than disagreeing with her.

She served the congregation as councilor for personnel; a past member of the formation team; a councilor for community life and was active in several Chapters of Affairs. In addition, she spent 10 years teaching at Villa Maria College, Erie. Sister Marie Claire retired from active ministry in 1996 and most recently resided at the Villa Maria Community Living Center in Erie.

She is survived by a brother Tom Schillinger and nieces Mary (Monte) Behan, Julie Tsepelis, Kate DeFazio, Jill (Andy) Pecora, Marie (Mitch) Malecki, Kathy (Tom) Haight, Ann (Blaze Wick) Kearney; and nephews, John (Kim) Pokey, Steve Kearney, Dick (Barbara) Kearney, Dan (Becky) Kearney, Dave (Ann) Kearney, John (Tammy) Kearney and Bill (Sheri) Kearney. She is also survived by the Sisters of St. Joseph.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a brother, William Kearney, a sister, Patricia Pokey and a niece, Mary Kearney.

Friends may call at the Villa Maria Community Living Center, 5031 West Ridge Road, Erie, on Sunday from 2 until 7 p.m., when a prayer service will be held. Calling hours continue on Monday from 2 until 4 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 4:30 p.m. Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to the Community Support Fund of the Sisters of St. Joseph, 5031 West Ridge Road, Erie, PA 16506-1249.

The Quinn Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

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