Sister Mary Rudina (Rita) Klarer: Jan 3, 1926-July 11, 2014

Klarer, S Mary Rudina2 webSister Mary Rudina (Rita) Klarer, 88, an Ursuline Sister of Mount Saint Joseph, died July 11, 2014, at Mount Saint Joseph, in her 68th year of religious life. She was a native of Louisville.

Born Mary Rita Klarer, she was the fifth of eight children of Leo and Rudina (Bauer) Klarer. On Sunday, Jan. 3, 1926, after her parents returned from Mass, Rita was born in the family home and baptized the following Sunday at St. Columba Church. Hoping for a large family, her parents built a large home in sight of the Ohio River. Except for a few years during the Depression, this was Rita’s home until 1946. After completing high school at Presentation Academy and three semesters at Nazareth College, Rita entered the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph. After professing her vows, she began a teaching career that spanned 26 years in Kentucky and Nebraska, loving students in every grade from primary to seniors in high school, specializing in math and physics.

After completing her bachelor’s degree in math, she earned a master’s in math/education from Xavier University in Cincinnati and a master’s in theology/pastoral ministry from Loyola University in New Orleans. She also participated in summer sessions at Worcester (Mass.) Polytechnic, Florida Technological Institute in Orlando and the Spirituality Program at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.

In 1974 she moved to Kansas City to accept an education position at the Municipal Correctional Institution, a minimum security facility for men and women. Within two years, she became director of Social Services, a position she held for more than 12 years.

After leaving MCI, she served in various capacities at St. John Diocesan Center while also serving at Clinical Pastoral Education at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City. She then served seven years as chaplain at Children’s Mercy Hospital, mainly being called upon for traumas, emergencies and/or the deaths of infants or children. She was called upon to baptize about 200 infants facing death. She thought this mission was one of the most challenging and rewarding of all she had been called to do.

After leaving the hospital ministry, she was blessed to be accepted as a pastoral care minister at St. Patrick Parish in Kansas City, where she came to know and love some of the finest people on the face of the earth. She retired to the Motherhouse in 2011.

Rita was preceded in death by her parents, five brothers and two sisters. She is survived by 20 nieces and nephews, and many great and great-great ones, along with her religious community. Rather than flowers, donations to the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph, 8001 Cummings Road, Maple Mount, KY 42356, or St. Patrick Church will bear fruit for many years.

The funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 15 at Mount Saint Joseph, where visitation will begin Monday at 4 p.m., with a wake service following at 6:30 p.m.

Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory, Owensboro, is in charge of arrangements.


  1. Robin Good

    My family had he privilege of meeting Sr. Rita when she and I worked together at St. John’s Center.
    She was an amazing woman of faith and conviction who touched All who had the opportunity to know her. Rest in peace my friend. Thank you for touching my life and family.

  2. Bill Klarer

    Sister Rita,
    I appreciate all your help in organizing the Klarer reunions ~ I miss you ~ peace ~ a special toast to you at the Rita Regattas to come.

  3. Bob Roddy, OFM Conv.

    Sister Rita (I knew her as Sister Rudina) was one of the best teachers I ever had. Her small stature belied the fact that she could very intimidating when it came to keeping order in the classroom or study hall. (I’m sure many a former student can recall that piercing gaze that she could give.) Her steely gaze could not hide that she had a generous spirit and a contagious enthusiasm for whatever interested her. Whether you were an “A” student or a struggling student, she would go above and beyond to help you. (This was not limited to academics; she was often going to bat for kids who were in trouble; a fact that made her move to ministry in the prison an extension of her call as an Ursuline.)

    Two of my most vivid memories of her were the summer of 1972, when she received permission to remain in Nebraska City so that she could organize the Math Club’s trip to the National Convention in New Orleans. More than that, she spent the summer doing her beloved and lovely crafts–the convent was full of her creations. These items were going to be sold at an event called “Loyalty Day.” As I understood it, Loyalty Day was a way in which all the Sisters shared whatever creations they made in a sale that benefited the Sisters. I think that Loyalty Day was succeeded by the current Picnic. It was her opportunity to give back to the Sisters she loved so dearly.

    Another vivid memory I have is of the day that she and a former sister in the community returned from a day of Thrift-Store shopping in Omaha. She and her friend, Babs, I think was her name, had had a blast. The two of them were triumphantly showing off the spoils of their adventure.

    She not only taught young men and women (and adults), she inspired them and helped them see the best in themselves. I am so grateful for her presence in my life journey.

    As they say in the Eastern Rite of the Church, “May her memory be eternal!”

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