Sister Clara Reid, OSU: Jan. 14, 1939- December 29, 2019

Sister Clara Reid, 80, an Ursuline Sister of Mount Saint Joseph, died Dec. 29, 2019, in Louisville in her 60th year of religious life. She was a native of Holy Cross, Ky.

Sister Clara was always on the move, embracing the latest changes in education through 50 years as a teacher and principal. She remembered all her students and loved to travel.

She graduated from Brescia College (now University), Owensboro, Ky., with a bachelor of arts degree in 1971 and from Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Ky., with a master of arts degree in 1975.

Sister Clara taught in Kentucky at Blessed Mother School, Owensboro (1961-64) and St. Joseph School, Mayfield (1964-71), and was principal at St. Pius Tenth School (1981-85), Owensboro, as well as one year of leading the day care at St. Pius. Most of her ministry years were spent in New Mexico, where she was a teacher at St. Charles Borromeo School in Albuquerque from 1971-80, and from 1989 to 2011, as well as a substitute teacher in the archdiocese’s schools (2011-12). She was principal at St. Teresa School in Grants from 1985-89. She served as a clerk in the St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Store in Albuquerque from 2012-14, when she retired to the Mount.

Survivors include the members of her religious community; her siblings Carolyn Maurice Downs, Louisville; Bernadette Bryan, New Haven, Ky.; Marcella Bartley, Stanley Reid and Helman Philip Reid, all of Loretto, Ky.; nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be from 3-8 p.m. (EST) Wednesday at Mattingly Funeral Home in Loretto, Ky. Visitation at Mount Saint Joseph begins at 4 p.m. (CST) Thursday, with a wake service at 6:30 p.m. The funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Mount Saint Joseph.

Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory, Owensboro, is handling arrangements.

Donations in memory of Sister Clara may be made to the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph, 8001 Cummings Road, Maple Mount, KY 42356.

Remembrance of Sister Clara Reid, OSU
January 2, 2020
Sister Amelia Stenger, OSU
Congregational Leader

 In talking about Sister Clara, someone said she always slipped away without saying goodbye when she was going back to New Mexico.  She didn’t like goodbyes. She surprised us all when she slipped away on December 29 at the hospital in Louisville.  We didn’t know when she left to attend the funeral of her brother, Gerald, that we would be having her funeral just a short time after.  This is a sign to all of us that we know not the day nor the hour that God will call us home.

Clara Mae Reid was born on January 14, 1939 in Nelson County near Loretto, Ky.  She was the third child born to William Joseph Reid and Mary Josephine Corbett Reid.  Her brothers and sisters were Carolyn Maurice, Gerald, Bernadette, J.P. Stanley Michael, Marcella and Helman.  We offer her Sister Rici and her nieces, who are here with us our sympathy and prayers.  Her living brothers and sisters are Carolyn Maurice, Bernadette, Stanley, Helman and Marcella.  To all of you from her family who are with us here or on the live streaming, we offer you our prayers as well.  We realize this has been a difficult time for your family losing two of your relatives so close together.

Clara was baptized on February 19, 1939 at Holy Rosary Church in Manton, KY.  She was confirmed on June 13, 1948 at Holy Cross Church in Loretto, KY by Bishop John A. Floersh.  Her family lived in the Manton area until she was about four.  At that time the family moved to the Reid’s family farm in Marion County near Holy Cross. 

She started first grade at Hogan School which was a one room school with Margaret Camborn as her first teacher.  The little school closed at the end of that school year and she transferred to Holy Cross public school which had Ursuline Sisters as the teachers.  Her teacher in the second grade was Sister Rosita Willett.  She attended Holy Cross grade school for seven years.  Some of her other teachers were Sister Robert Angela, Sr. Clarentia, Sr. Mary David and Sr. Florentia. All were strong Ursuline educators.

Her first three years of high school were at St. Francis High School and her last year was at St. Charles High School. She was in a terrible accident between her Junior and Senior Year where one of her friends was killed.  Her sister, Marcella tutored her and helped her get the credits she needed to graduate.  Some of her secondary teachers were Sister Mary Denise, Sister Charles Marie, Sister Marie Bernadette. Sister Charles Asa was her principal. 

After graduating from high school in 1957, she started working at Cowden Factory.  After a few months she was given the job of supervisor where she had twenty women to train for their jobs at the factory.  There was no indication what type of factory it was but she was only 18 years old when she was asked to be the supervisor.  Last evening, we learned that the Cowden factory made blue jeans.

Although Sister Clara grew up just three miles from the Sisters of Loretto Motherhouse, she was taught by Ursuline Sisters and chose at age 20 to enter the Ursulines because of the special interest shown in her by the Superior Sister Mary Wilfrid Hayden. So, in 1959, after working at the factory for two years she decided that she would enter the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph with fourteen other young women.  Sister Cecilia Joseph Olinger is her only classmate to remain.  Sister CJ, we offer you our prayers as you say goodbye to your classmate of 60 years. 

She made temporary profession on August 15, 1961 and made perpetual profession on August 15, 1964.  During the time she was going to Brescia she was also teaching at Blessed Mother School in Owensboro and later at Saint Joseph School in Mayfield.

In May 1971 she received her Bachelors degree in Elementary Education from Brescia University and four years later she received her Masters degree in Elementary Education from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. 

Her third mission was in Albuquerque, NM at St. Charles School.  This began her love affair with the Southwest.  She taught in that school for nine years before she was asked to come back to Owensboro to be director of the day care Center at St. Pius X for one year and then Principal of St. Pius school for four more years. 

She returned to New Mexico in 1985 and stayed there until she came to the Mount in 2014 after having surgery for cancer.  During those twenty-nine years in New Mexico she taught at St. Teresa School in Grants, NM and then moved to Albuquerque where she taught at St. Charles Borromeo school again. Her last years in New Mexico were spent substituting in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe Schools and working at the St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Store in Albuquerque.

When Sister Clara wasn’t teaching, she traveled.  She visited numerous places, often with her classmate, Sister Cecilia Joseph or Sister Elaine Burke.  In her travels, she visited the Holy Land, Italy, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Hawaii and Alaska to name a few.  She had two large scrapbooks that recalled her travels, her family and the students she taught.  In one of the pictures of a first grader named Bryan Sei whom she taught in 1974-75, she laughed and said, “He is now my dentist.  I went to his father years ago and now he has taken over the business.”

Other than a year in 1980 when she ran the day care center at St. Pius, she spent 49 years as a principal or teacher.  She was well liked and always full of energy.  B.J. Rossow, principal at St. Charles School where Sister taught called her a “powerful factor” in the school.  “She keeps me young,” he said. “She has a 21st century mind and is willing to take on any challenge.  She’s embraced the latest trends and runs with them.  There are those people who’ve been teaching so long, they do the same thing every day.  She just jumps in and gets so excited about new things.  For a sister who’s a little older, she’s up to the latest and greatest.”

Sister Clara was nominated for teacher of the year for the National Catholic Education Association in 2010.  Rossow said, “She is dedicated to each child.  For the staff, she brings a different talent.  She just makes us laugh a lot.”        

Pamela Wheeldon, the first-grade teacher at St. Charles Borromeo School in Albuquerque wrote a nomination letter for Sister Clara in March 2010 for Teacher of the Year.  It sums up all the wonderful qualities that Sister shared with so many. 

Pamela said, “I have had the privilege of knowing and working with Sister Clara for eighteen years.  She is a role model for what every teacher aspires to be.  She is untiring in her effort to enable students to extend beyond themselves and look to the future.  Sister’s openness to new ideas and professional development engender enthusiasm and innovation in the students she teaches. She is always ready to implement new strategies and technologies learning them first herself with such tenacity and drive. 

Her classroom is a place where children are challenged to meet their full potential.  Children feel free to explore and learn in a disciplined and caring environment.  Many former students often come to share their successes and accomplishments with Sister.  Throughout her 49 years of teaching, Sister has not only touched the future but made a profound impact on it through her many students.

Sister’s religious background and her love for God enhance her ability to teach respect for our world, to appreciate life on the earth and to make students more aware of their responsibility in taking care of the earth and all people in the world.

Her enthusiasm, energy and positive attitude is evident every day in the way she interacts with her co-workers, parents and students.  She is admired for her integrity, compassion and deep faith.”

One of her students, Jennie Navarrete also wrote her a note when she was nominated.  It said, “Sister Clara, everybody that knows you at St. Charles thinks you’re great, except me.  I think you’re terrific! You deserve that award because you have been the best teacher I’ve had yet.”

Sister Clara, you were an outstanding educator who touched the lives of many young people over the years.  They have taken a part of you with them and are a witness to your dedication and service.  May you rest in the arms of Jesus.  Your good deeds have gone before you.



  1. Audrey Palacio

    Sister Clara taught both me and my daughter at Saint Charles. Ehen I would see her around the town as an adult she would always remember me and tell me of her latest trip . She always asked for my daughter. She was so kind! Sisters Clara, Mary Ethel and Frances Louise educated many of us in New Mexico. She will be missed!

  2. Joyce Lyvers Hornback

    I grew up in Holy Cross, Ky where Sr. Clara (Clara Mae Reid) and I attended grade school, then graduated St. Francis High School in Loretto, Ky together. She was the most gentle, caring, friendly person you’d ever want to meet. She will be missed by many, but Heaven got one more Angel. My Sympathy and Prayers go out to her Sisters at Mt. Saint Joseph and to her other friends and family. May she Rest in Peace! 🙏🙏🙏

  3. Stephen W. Bowles

    Sister Clara was one of the most interesting ladies I have ever met, her size did not dictate her sternness, let alone her stories or devotion to God. I feel very lucky to have met Clara May, let alone get to here some of her travel stories, or the teaching of our youth for so many years. Jesus is getting great one.

  4. Tom Glaser

    Dear Ursiline Sisters,

    I’ve known Sister Clara for over 45 years. I first met her and Sisters Ethel, Dorothy, Charles Marie, Jovita, Jean Bernadine and Robert Angela at Saint Charles here in Albuquerque, New Mexico They would come over to Good Shepherd Manor and entertain our guests. All the sisters were a hoot!!! Sister Clara help me and guided me throughout my teaching career, Her kindness and understanding was an example of Gods love. I will continue my knowledge throughout my Franciscan Family. Assuring you of my prayers .
    Br. Juniper O.S.F.
    Once again I’m teaching here in New Mexico first grade.

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