Sister Mary Clare (Claree Mae) Hall, OSB, died on December 17, 2020 in her 74th year of vowed commitment. She was born August 24, 1927 in Two Harbors, Minnesota, the third child of six of Edward Hall and Catherine (MacDougall) Hall. Her parents worked on the family farm and the town barbershop. As she grew, Claree Mae observed women working hard to raise their families and labor in the fields. She decided that was not the life for her; instead, she was drawn to the Benedictine Sisters who came from Duluth each week to teach CCD classes. From them she received love, respect, and a listening ear, and this reserved, shy girl blossomed. She helped them teach CCD to the little ones and resolved to enter the Community after high school.
As Sister Mary Clare, she earned a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and, in 1971, a Master’s in Education with emphasis on new educational methods. From 1948 to 1975 she taught elementary school in Chicago, Cincinnati, Hibbing, Minneapolis, Aitkin, and Duluth, and in her last seven years of teaching served as principal. She was an outstanding elementary teacher and was especially notable for excellence in teaching first and second grade students. Her former students, now adults, would often ask about her and praised her contributions to their lives.
The driving force of her ministry was to pass on the love she had received, always looking for goodness in the children whom she taught, telling them, “You are very precious to God, and God loves you.” She especially loved the ones who struggled to fit in or learn. She once said, “It bothers me when people see only what is wounded, and not what is good, what is healed and whole.”
After retirement she worked at internal ministries in the Monastery and volunteered at the Benedictine Living Community-Duluth next door. During this time, she returned home to care for her ailing mother and, later, her sister until their deaths, bringing them the same healing love she shared with her students.
In her last years, she developed Alzheimer’s, and for her own safety moved to Safe Harbor in the Benedictine Living Community-Duluth. +Sister Jane Casey visited her every day, and when Sister Mary Clare saw her friend her face would light up with her luminous smile. She and the other residents there struggled with failing memory but knew they are always precious in God’s eyes.
One of her nephews remembers her as a selfless person who lived a life of service in the name of Jesus. Every day she lived her faith, a constant beacon of hope, helping others develop self-confidence. She carried another’s burdens without wanting praise or gratitude. It was enough to know she made a difference. He said, “May the Lord show her the same attentiveness and compassion that she modeled for others. She will be missed. She will be remembered.”
She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Hugh Hall, and her sisters Barbara Youngberg, Jacqueline Gow, Bonnie Wilkins, and Kathleen Richardson. She is survived by the Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery and many beloved nieces and nephews. Wake, Morning Prayer (10:00 a.m.) and funeral Mass (11:00 a.m.) will be held on January 6, 2021 in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel at the Monastery, with Father William Fider as Presider. Interment will be in Gethsemane Cemetery.
Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home. Because of public health restrictions, the funeral is private but will be livestreamed beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Dougherty Funeral Home’s Facebook page: https://facebook.com/dfhduluth/. Memorials are preferred to St. Scholastica Monastery.