Sr. Mary Clare Sweeney, BVM (Clarita) died July 8 in Dubuque, Iowa. She was 84.

Sr. Mary Clare Sweeney, BVM (courtesy photo)
Sr. Mary Clare Sweeney, BVM (courtesy photo)

Sr. Mary Clare spent the ’70s on the faculty of Arizona State University and 20 years at Arizona State University East (1982-2002). She was an English instructor, director of the writing center, graduate student teacher in the College of Technology, and computer consultant for faculty. ASU presented her with the Faculty Appreciation Award for outstanding leadership and dedication in 1993.

She also served as BVM traveling computer consultant, volunteer and professor emerita (2002-06). Sr. Mary Clare was on the faculty of Mundelein College in Chicago and on the faculty at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Her earlier years of religious life included 17 years as an elementary school teacher in the midwest.

Sr. Mary Clare was very involved in the BVM and associate community, especially in Phoenix. She once served on The Catholic Sun‘s board of directors and wrote for Salt magazine. In 2003, the Catholic Press Association awarded her third place in the religious order magazine category for an essay she wrote.

Upon retirement, Sr. Mary Clare became a vibrant part of “The Farm at South Mountain” just outside of Phoenix. The Farm featured speakers, classes for adults in self-awareness, healing movement and spirituality, as well as an outstanding restaurant using locally grown produce.

She was born in Dubuque on May 16, 1930, to James and Mae A. (Kingsley) Sweeney. She entered the BVM congregation — following the footsteps of a great0grant aunt and two cousins — Sept. 8, 1947. She professed first vows March 19, 1950, and final vows Aug. 15, 1955.

She was preceded in death by her parents and brother Robert. She is survived by brothers: John Francis Sweeney (Diane), Bonita Springs, Fla.; Dr. James Arthur Sweeney (Lois), Bloomington, Minn.; and Dr. William Henry Sweeney (Jackie), Mt. Horeb, Wis.; a sister Anne M. Sweeney, Bernard, Iowa; nieces and nephews; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 66 years.

Burial is in the Mount Olivet cemetery, Key West, Iowa. Memorials may be given to the Sisters of Charity, BVM Support Fund, 1100 Carmel Drive, Dubuque, Iowa 52003, or online.