Sister Clarence Marie Luckett, 92, an Ursuline Sister of Mount Saint Joseph, died Feb. 14, 2023, at Mount Saint Joseph, in her 72nd year of religious life. She was a native of Greenbrier, Ky.
Sister Clarence Marie was a friendly person who served wherever she was needed. She witnessed the love of Jesus to all those she met. She was a 1967 graduate of Brescia College (now University), Owensboro, Ky., and earned a master’s degree from Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Ky.
Sister Clarence Marie was a teacher for 30 years in Kentucky at St. Denis School, Fancy Farm (1953-55), St. Lawrence School, St. Lawrence (1955-57), St. Martin School, Rome (1957-64), St. Paul School, Princeton (1964-67), St. Paul School, Leitchfield (1967-71) and St. Ignatius School, Louisville (1971-82). She served in outreach at St. Boniface convent, Louisville (1982-85), and was a parish minister at St. Romuald, Hardinsburg (1992-95).
She ministered to Hispanics at Centro Latino, Owensboro (1995-98) and served in outreach and as a religious presence in Caneyville (1999-2014). For the majority of her years as a Sister, she made beautiful quilts to support her Ursuline community, completing more than 50 quilts for the Ursuline Quilt Club. She led the craft room at Maple Mount from 1985-92.
Survivors include the members of her religious community; her brother, Benjamin Luckett of Louisville; nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Clarence and Mary Luckett; and siblings James Luckett, Thomas Luckett, Mary Maupin, Ann Moore, Clarence Luckett Jr., Elizabeth Johnson, Mary Ann Westerfield and Joseph Luckett.
The funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 17, 2023, at Mount Saint Joseph, where visitation will begin Thursday at 4 p.m., with a wake service following at 6:30 p.m.
Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory, Owensboro, is handling arrangements.
Donations in memory of Sister Clarence Marie may be made to the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph, 8001 Cummings Road, Maple Mount, KY 42356.
Wake Reflection for Sister Clarence Marie Luckett
By Sister Sharon Sullivan, congregational leader
Feb. 16, 2023
Tuesday, this Valentine’s Day, in our morning prayer, we heard from Saint Paul in Second Corinthians: “For we know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent, should be destroyed, we have a building from God, a dwelling not made with hands, eternal in heaven. . . . So we are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.” From the moment she was born, Sister Clarence Marie embodied this courageous certainty. Even beginning with her name!
For on Tuesday, August 12, 1930, in Greenbrier, Kentucky, in Marion County – according to the official birth certificate – one Mary Ola Luckett was born. The seventh child of Clarence and Mary Matilda Wathen Luckett. But – and here’s the mystery – five days later – on a Sunday morning, August 17, 1930, Mary Ola was baptized Agnes Mayola Luckett, and so she remained! Perhaps this helped set Sister Clarence Marie’s precedent of always moving forward to a goal against all odds – even official documents, like birth certificates. She simply walked by faith.
Agnes Mayola joined her six brothers and sisters – James Wathen, Thomas Ellwyn, Mary Dorothy, Ann Marjorie, Clarence Junior, and Elizabeth – in the faith-filled farming family of the Lucketts. She was soon joined by three more siblings – Mary Ann, Joseph Benjamin, and Joseph Timothy – for a family of ten children. And to Sister Clarence Marie’s brother – Joseph Benjamin – and her legions of nieces and nephews, the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph extend our thanks for sharing Mayola with us and our sympathy and love at this time of your loss.
Sister Clarence Marie would later comment that she was taught to pray by her parents, that “we got down on our knees morning and night to pray. If anyone came by, they had to get on their knees, too. We didn’t stop for anybody.” They all walked by faith!
Mayola began her educational career at Grundy School in Marion County under the watchful eye of Miss Edith Spalding. One week after Easter that year, she would be confirmed at the age of not-yet-seven on Sunday, April 4, 1937, at Holy Name of Mary Church in Calvary, Kentucky. At that time she added the name of Mary.
Mayola would continue at Grundy School and then attend three more separate schools before High School – Moore’s Creek Elementary in Finley, Holy Name of Mary, and, finally, Holy Trinity – both in Frederickstown. Eventually, she would attend and graduate from Saint Charles High School in Saint Mary, Kentucky.
At this time, not yet twenty, Mayola took the next steps on her direct journey to the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph, a journey that – in her words – began as soon as she could remember going to Mass in Marion County. In her application to postulancy she shared her clear and open sense of why she was making the choice to come; she came, she said, simply “to do the work of God.”
Mayola joined the other postulants on Thursday, September 7, 1950, less than a month after her 20th birthday. I don’t believe she ever looked back!
Less than a year later, two days after her 21st birthday, on Tuesday, August 14, 1951, Agnes Mayola entered the novitiate, becoming Sister Clarence Marie (in honor of her Dad and Mom) and joined eight others: Sisters Kateri Blanford, Marie Anthony Bowling, Mary Martina (Cabrini) Foushee, Helen Earl Garner, David Marie Johnson, Nivita Riley, Marie Sorto Schwab, and Mary Xavier Trujillo. Of that group, Sister Clarence Marie was the last surviving member; however, after 2008, when the Paola Ursulines joined Mount Saint Joseph, she gained another classmate, Sister Susanne Bauer. And to Sister Susanne we extend our love and prayers as you mourn your last classmate.
Within two years, Sister Clarence Marie was ready to make her first profession on Saturday, August 15, 1953, and began teaching at Saint Denis in Fancy Farm less than three weeks later. Over the next 29 years, she taught in six different schools throughout Kentucky – including Saint Lawrence in Knottsville, Saint Martin in Rome, Saint Paul in Princeton, Saint Paul in Leitchfield, and eventually Saint Ignatius in Louisville – she almost always taught in the first or second grade. She once wrote about the children, “they need a first grade teacher and I feel like I am qualified to do this job. I like my job. . . to teach children to love God more.” We can imagine even then, that like her mother, Sister Clarence Marie helped her students learn that praying to God “did not stop for anybody!”
During this same time, Sister Clarence Marie was completing her own academic schooling. In 1967 she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in History from Brescia College and in 1976 finished graduate studies in education at Western Kentucky University. Then, at the age of 50, she began expanding into other areas of education – taking music lessons from Sister Mary Victor Rogers, learning to play the piano, and beginning to attend and learn from craft fairs and workshops.
In 1982, when she was 52, Sister Clarence Marie began the second phase of her ministry, meeting the needs of so many others in so many ways. For three years at Saint Boniface Convent in Louisville, she provided outreach and transportation; back to Mount Saint Joseph where she managed the craft room and provided transportation; then on to Saint Romuald Parish in Hardinsburg, for more parish outreach and witness. For a few years, Sister Clarence Marie assisted with Centro Latino, where – she admitted – in her classic fashion, “I didn’t speak any Spanish, but I took the guys wherever they needed to go. . . .” She continued to walk by faith.
Sister Clarence Marie’s last years in external ministry were the fifteen she served in Caneyville as a Catholic Christian presence. Here she engaged in outreach to those in need, discovered community involvement, and expanded her quilting ministry. When asked of her time in Caneyville, she responded that she would “visit and be a good listener. . . (and would) help and try to meet their needs.” Needs such as visiting, transportation, food, commodities, stamps, celebrations, senior citizen activities, prayers, crafts, and much more.
It was during this time that Sister Clarence Marie found even more time to devote to quilting, a skill she had begun using almost 50 years before when she committed to finishing the six quilts her mother had begun before she passed away. In those years, Sister Clarence Marie made at least fifty more quilts, following in her mother’s footsteps; for she said, “My mother always had something in her lap to work on,” and from her Sister Clarence Marie learned to quilt, to crochet, to embroider, and even to tat lace.
So what else and where else was Sister Clarence Marie engaged and involved in those years and places of ministry? If you were to examine her annals – her yearly reports sent to the archives – you would see first her ministry and prayer, and then she added extensive lists that focused first on family, then travel, and then crafts and music. Often the most frequent occurrences in those multi-page lists were family holidays, confirmations, graduations, weddings, anniversaries, and baby showers! But Sister Clarence Marie was also quite a traveler – listing visits to more than twenty states (including New York and California and Hawaii) and trips to Canada and to the Bahamas. Sister Clarence Marie never stopped learning.
She came home at last to Mount Saint Joseph in 2015, and was welcomed by this version of “You Are My Sunshine” (penned by Sister Mary Louise Alvey):
Oh, you are welcome, my friend, you’re welcome,
You share a hopeful, smiling face.
Oh, Sister Clarence, we’re glad to see you,
Like the sun, you brighten our days!
Together with quilting as long as she was able, Sister Clarence Marie entered her highest ministry, the Powerhouse of Prayer. She prayed always, especially loving the Rosary; but she reminded us, “the Lord knows what you need,” and you must “keep on knocking, and maybe you’ll get an answer some day.”
To the staff of the Villa, where Sister Clarence Marie spent her last years, we extend our deepest gratitude and love for all the ways you’ve walked with her on this last journey.
And, Sister Clarence Marie, we say farewell at this time, knowing that you had the best Valentine’s Day possible, as you stepped with your open eyes of faith into the arms of your loving God and finally had all your questions answered.