Sister Mary Clarentia Hutchins, March 16, 1920-Nov. 5, 2014

Wake Reflection for Sister Mary Clarentia Hutchins,OSU
March 16, 1920 – November 5, 2014

One of Sister Mary Clarentia’s favorite scriptures comes from the Book of Ecclesiastes, so we begin: There is an appointed time for everything and a time for every affair under the heavens. There is a time to be born…What a fresh breeze that blew through Louisville on March 16, 1920 as a baby girl swept into the lives of Johanna Sutton Hutchins and Joseph Bernard Hutchins and her brothers Xavier, called X and Henry. Mary Clarentia Hutchins came to them as a spring breeze. They loved having a baby sister.

The parents Johanna and Bernard bearing Catholic roots of New Haven and Raywick took Mary Clarentia, only five days old to St. Patrick Church to be baptized. They understood there is a time to plant and a time to take root…the rooting in the Catholic faith was fulfilled when Mary Clarentia received the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation at St. Brigid Church.

And just as her brothers loved her, she did love them. The family love was deep and mutual. All spoiled one another. Her parents were always called Mother and Father. Sister Clarentia felt it deeply when there was the time for loss. And her parents and siblings were called home to be with God.

The Ursuline Sisters extend our sympathy, prayers and love to the nieces, nephews, cousins and friends of Sister Mary Clarentia. May you always remember the joy and the joking she brought into your own lives.
There is an appointed time for everything and a time for every affair under the heavens. So there came the time to go to school…the time to gain knowledge.

Mary Clarentia attended St. Patrick School and later St. Brigid School in Louisville. Her high school days found her at Mercy Academy. After graduating from high school in 1938 Mary Clarentia was feeling it was the appointed time to make a decision about her vocation. She felt a pull, a tug to follow Jesus more closely by becoming an Ursuline Sister of Mount Saint Joseph. She wrote a letter to the Mother Superior, Mother Teresita, asking to enter the community. How sweet this was for Mrs. Hutchins! She was giving her daughter into the hands of her childhood friend. Mother Teresita was equally happy having a “grand” child in the Novitiate. It was September 7, 1938 that Mary Clarentia along with her classmates: Ann Elizabeth Busam, Carmencita Carrico, Annunciata Durr, Mary Paula Hundley, Mary Stella Hurin, Mary Barbara Ketzer, Mary Rose Lindauer, Miriam Medley, Anastasia Mudd, Eleanor Rapier, Mary Leon Riney, Mary Victor Rogers, Olivia Ryan, and Mary Emily Whelan came to Mount Saint Joseph. This class entered the Novitiate on August 14, 1939 and Mary Clarentia became Sister Mary Clarentia.

And after completing the Novitiate, there came the time to begin the ministry of education and the continuation of her own. She gained her degrees from Ursuline College and Catherine Spalding College in Louisville and Brescia College in Owensboro. Believing that wisdom is how you apply the knowledge one has acquired, there came the time to share that wisdom. Over the next 48 years, Sister Clarentia served as teacher and often times as principal as well, in fourteen schools scattered over the diocese of Owensboro and the Archdiocese of Louisville. The schools were: St. Lawrence, St. Denis, Louisville, Holy Cross, Curdsville, Cloverport, New Haven, St. Paul, Leitchfield, Buechel, Sorgho, Mayfield, Hardinsburg, Hawesville, Hodgenville, and St. Francis in Loretto, Ky.

To sustain herself in her ministry of education, Sister Mary Clarentia went to Mass and received the Eucharist daily. She had a great devotion to Jesus, his mother Mary and good St. Joseph as she called him. She was a prayerful woman and spent a lot of time with the rosary and Marian devotions.

A great love for children and Catholic education kept Sister Clarentia in the teaching field for more than five decades. In 1987 she retired from teaching in schools but declared she had plenty of time left to invest in people who needed. There is an appointed time for everything and a time for every affair under the heavens. So the time had arrived for Sister Clarentia to lurch out on her own and to teach beyond the classroom. The great love of people kept her going. Knowing she had much to give and wanting to give, she failed to slow down.

Sister Clarentia remained in Louisville and for the next 19 years she volunteered at the St. Anthony soup kitchen, and at Red Cross. She helped the elderly, visiting the nursing homes and hospitals. She was energized by a deep sensitivity to others. She often said, “I see the need because so many people are lonely.”

There is an appointed time for everything and a time for every affair under the heavens. There came a time to be silent…a time to be silent and let others be for her. Sister Clarentia retired to the Motherhouse in 2005 and resided in the Villa. She was very active, helped anyone who needed help.

To you, Randy Shelby as the pastoral care coordinator and to all the employees of the villa: to Amber Jones and her staff, to anyone who has helped with Sister Mary Clarentia , the Ursuline Sisters offer you our sympathy, prayer and love. God bless you.

There is the time to be, a time to rest, and a time to relax. In the Villa one could find Sister Clarentia working jig-saw puzzles. She loved them. She loved dogs and puppies, loved stuffed animals. She indeed loved all the sisters, and was very affectionate. She participated in all activities before she got too ill. She loved Daisy and waited longingly for Debbie to bring the dog for visitation.

Then there came the time to linger, the time to die. For several days, Sister Clarentia lingered, as if to renew her earlier prayer of 2009. ”I’m ready Jesus, you can come take me home”…and Jesus came in the early afternoon of November 5th. Sister Clarentia, now is the time to forever praise your God!

Sister Clarentia thank you for being Ursuline, thank you for loving me, for believing that at the hour death you would recognize Jesus to be your faithful friend….and you did… was the time.

Sister Mary Matthias Ward, OSU
Director of Local Community Life
Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph


  1. Brother Gabriel Monarch, O.H.

    Ah what memories of the 50’s when our good Sister Clarentia taught at St. Elizabeth’s in Curdsville…I’m sure Sister Jacinta Powers can tell you many stories as she and her brother Hubert Powers and Mary Aloysius (now deceased) lived in Curdsville during those years…Another Ursuline has made it to heaven…..Brother Gabriel Monarch, O.H.

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