January 2012: SISTER MARIE CLARE SCHEIBLE (entered eternal life on June 12, 2016)
Sister Marie Clare was born on Friday, June 27, 1924 in Rochester, NY to Anthony and Florence (Servatius) Scheible. She entered this community in 1947 and Professed First Vows on June 13, 1950.
Education and hospital service
A graduate of St. John’s Hospital School of Nursing who also earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from St. Louis University, Sister Marie Clare also holds an MBA in hospital administration from Xavier University. She served this community as a nurse, clinical instructor, assistant administrator, and chaplain. At St. Joseph’s Hospital (Highland, IL) she served as administrator from 1968-1977.
Marching with Martin Luther King, Jr.
She participated in the Freedom March in Montgomery, Alabama on March 25, 1965 and she heard the famous speech of Martin Luther King, Jr. who said “The only normalcy that we settle for is the normalcy that recognizes the dignity and worth of all of God’s children.” Later, at the airport, Sister Marie Clare met Dr. King and his wife, who both expressed their gratitude for her presence and support. Following the speech, she experienced her own form of discrimination. Dressed in the traditional black habit she and another Sister approached a gas station with an outdoor Coke machine, but a tall, white southern man put his arms across the machine and said, “We only sell to whites and aren’t you ashamed of yourself for participating here?” She was shocked and realized what was occurring. “As individuals we must try to get rid of our own deep seated prejudiced feelings. Empty them from our hearts so that there can be room for love to enter in,” she said.
Another healing profession
In 1987, she enrolled at the Chicago School of Massage Therapy and became a certified massage. “You don’t have to be put on a shelf when you get older and so I decided to tap some of my hidden potentials, take risks more freely and uncover new treasures,” she explained. She began providing massage therapy at the Motherhouse and the Sisters’ Retreat Facility – the Franciscan Apostalic Center (FAC). This ministry was named Wholistic Touch (spelled out through the initial letters of the following words: With Hands Of Love Individuals Share True Integrated Care). Wholistic Touch brought people to a deeper awareness of body, mind, and spirit through the healing qualities of massage and healing energy work. In a 1989 article about her work, Sister Marie Clare said “I look at my work as being a channel through which I can pass God’s love on to another human being…my hands speak a universal language of the heart.” Wholistic Touch was continued by Sister Ann Mathieu when Sister Marie Clare retired in 2004. The ministry of massage continues at Chiara Center.
We salute Sister Marie Clare who is an example to us of stepping forward with determination and faith. A favorite motto of hers can be words we can live by: “Cherish yesterday, dream tomorrow, live today.”