Sister Clare Chabot, OSF
Frances Chabot was born in Pass-A-Grill, Florida. As a child, Frances came to know and love the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters in Central Falls, Rhode Island where they were her elementary school teachers at St. Joseph School. She spent countless fun-filled afternoons helping the Sisters clean the church and was delighted on days she could also visit the convent. After eighth grade, she attended St. Xavier Academy in Providence, RI, and began to feel her call to become a Sister. When she finished high school in 1964, Frances entered the postulancy of the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters in Reading, Pennsylvania.
At her investiture, she received the religious name Sister Joseph Clare, but later shortened her name to Sister Clare because when she served as a missionary sister in Liberia, the people could not understand why she had a “man’s” name (Joseph).
Sister Clare earned a BA in Elementary Education and an MA in Special Education. She taught elementary, junior high and special education for 15 years before her dream of becoming a missionary came true and she was missioned to Cape Palmas, Liberia (West Africa).
During her first year in Liberia, Sister taught 73 students in first grade. The next year she became a boarding school director, where she also taught sewing and cooking. Some of her fondest memories are from the six years Sister served in Liberia. Sister Clare considers one of her most important accomplishments to be the creation of a small co-op store by the convent for the local community to purchase and sell some staple foods and goods without the arduous walk to the next closest village. Sister treasured the time she was able to spend teaching women to sew in a small village named Barrake, some 11 miles from Cape Palmas.
Upon returning to the United States, Sister Clare was assigned to Newport News, Virginia where she became the activities director in the St. Francis Nursing Home. Some of her other ministries later in life included:
- working for Catholic Social Services in the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts as the manager of a house for women coming out of prison and single women starting over
- working as property manager for St. Dominic’s Apartments for Seniors in Fall River, Massachusetts
- serving as local minister at her congregation’s motherhouse in Reading, Pennsylvania
- serving as activities director for the residents of the memory unit at her congregation’s retirement facility, St. Joseph Villa, in Reading, PA
In retirement, Sister Clare is deeply grateful that she can continue to live in community with her Sisters at St. Joseph Villa. Her word of wisdom to share is “always to look for the good in people. God loves each and every one of us so we too should look to others with love.”
Throughout her 59 years of service, Sister Clare’s hands have never been idle. Sister is a gifted crafter noted for expert sewing, card making, creating holiday centerpieces, and making Christmas ornaments. Her sense of humor is legendary as is her love of fun activities.