For our April Volunteer of the Month, we would like to celebrate the tireless support, patience, kindness and service of Sister Rita Clare. She inspires us to show up every day with a joyful spirit and strive to be our highest selves!

Sister Rita Clare knew she wanted to be a sister since she was four, inspired by her older sister who would often come home hopping along, joyfully singing, “I want to be a sister.” She attended Messmer High School, and immediately after graduation she entered the School Sisters of Notre Dame candidature at Mount Mary College. Her parents, who were unable to complete high school, always emphasized the importance of education, and encouraged her to study every subject to her fullest ability—and Sister Rita Clare did just that. She worked hard, eventually receiving two degrees, a Bachelor of Education and a Master of Education, Guidance and Counseling. Deeply committed to education, she went on to serve as an early elementary school educator for 32 years and as a principal for 18 years.

Having officially retired in 2013, her love of teaching has not ceased, and she continues to devote her time to the education of others. Sister Rita Clare has been volunteering with us for eight years, and dedicates three mornings a week to tutoring at our Layton Center location. Adriana, our Layton Center Program Director, says, “She is a kind and patient teacher who understands the challenges that our students face.” Sister Rita welcomes every pupil with enthusiasm, just as she would want any teacher to do if they were teaching one of her own. She finds teaching fascinating and loves working with students of all ages.

Even when her students’ attendance is not consistent because of the constraints of work or challenges with finding childcare, she never complains. She always says, "I got plenty to do, don't worry about me!" If students are unexpectedly unable to attend a session, she recommends tutors spend some time exploring the many resources and books available at the centers. “She models what it means to love to learn and the importance of being a lifelong learner. This encourages her students to keep studying despite the hardships that adults face while trying to get an education,” says Adriana.

“I never lost my zest for teaching. If they don’t know it, teach them. It is something for them to work on.” Thank you, Sister Rita Clare, for being such a dedicated and compassionate teacher!