Sister Clare DiGregorio died on March 21, 2023 at Saint Joseph Villa, Flourtown, Pennsylvania. The Funeral Mass was offered at Saint Joseph Villa on March 27, 2023.
Clare was the older of two daughters born to Amadeo and Beatrice DiGregorio. The family lived in Saint Carthage Parish in West Philadelphia and were very active and involved parishioners. Clare and her sister Bea attended the parish Grade School and graduated from West Catholic High School for Girls. Clare was very proud that both she and her sister took piano lessons and played the flute in the band and orchestra. During her high school years Clare was also involved in service projects with the Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Trinity, but she believed God was preparing her to be a Sister of Saint Joseph. She entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph on September 12, 1950 and received the religious habit and religious name Sister Grace Bernard in 1951. She graduated from Chestnut Hill College and received a Master’s Degree from Villanova University.
Sister Clare’s active ministry of sixty-two years brought her to the Archdioceses of Philadelphia and Newark as well as the Dioceses of Allentown, Pennsylvania, Wilmington, Delaware and Charlotte, North Carolina. She served as teacher in grade schools and high schools and also as Pastoral Associate in parishes and was responsible for Family Life programs and Catechetics. For ten years she ministered as Associate Director of Catechetics for the Archdiocese of Newark.
Clare found joy in all her ministries and especially enjoyed preparing children for the sacraments. As a high school teacher, she motivated students to volunteer service through the Community Service Corps. Throughout her life Clare exemplified the words of the Constitutions of the Sisters of Saint Joseph: “A cordial and hospitable spirit, a willing heart ready for any and every good work, a quiet sense of hiddenness, coupled with a desire to serve. . . characterize our response to the needs of the people of God.”
In concluding the eulogy for Clare, Sister Maureen Erdlen reflected, “Clare’s kind, gentle spirit made her presence a gift. Clare, you will be missed but we know you are forever young, living in the heart of our God whom you served so well.”