Sister Clair (Fidelis) was born Annie Clair in Cork in 1928. She grew up and was educated there and joined MMM in 1951. After profession she qualified as a general nurse at Saint Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin. After a year of nursing in the IMTH (Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital) and helping on the hospital switchboard, she completed midwifery training in Drogheda.
Clair’s first overseas assignment was to Nigeria in 1958. She worked in Saint Luke’s Hospital, Anua, before returning to Ireland in 1961 to train as a nursing tutor. In 1964 she returned to Nigeria and then taught nursing in Nigeria for three more years, first in Afikpo and then in Anua.
She became a senior nurse tutor in London in 1970 was assigned as principal in the IMTH School of Nursing. She spent a further seven years in Afikpo, Nigeria, as principal of the school of nursing and then as matron.
In 1982 Clair was assigned to Chicago, IL, USA, where she did mission awareness work and fundraising for three years. This was followed by seven years in Tanzania. She was matron for four years at our hospital in Dareda and was then an in-service trainer for senior nursing personnel at Makiungu.
After another year doing mission awareness work in the USA, she returned to Ireland in 1993.
She was the head of a survey project and task force in the Motherhouse from 1993 to 1994, researching current procedures in religious life. She was chairperson of the Áras Mhuire Board of Management and also served in MMM leadership.
In 1995, Sister Clair was assigned to England where she had a number of roles, including managing the Catholic International Students’ Hostel in London, where she enjoyed the contact with young people. She lived in Romily, Stockport, UK, for a short period, and when the decision was made to close the house, she was part of the team that prepared it for closure.
She was assigned to the MMM Motherhouse in 2003, where she helped with general duties. She served in local MMM leadership and was in charge of the telephone and reception area. She also gave English classes.
Clair moved to Áras Mhuire in October 2017 for nursing care and died there peacefully on 21 January 2018.
As with everything in her life, she prepared meticulously for her death. She contacted all of her family, both in Ireland and the UK, and their visits consoled and comforted her. She gave her worldly goods to some of her friends. She invited her neighbour and good friend in Cork, Father Liam Scanlan, SPS, to be the main celebrant at her funeral Mass. She had an abiding sense of peace and her faith never wavered. When the time came, she slipped away quietly.
After the Mass, MMMs, family and friends accompanied her remains to the nearby cemetery. It was a day with a promise of showers. Suddenly the sky was filled with a most beautiful rainbow that seemed to embrace everyone. It was like a sign of hope and an indication that Clair had finally arrived Home.