Sister Mary Clare Hughes, DC, Baltimore native who ministered in hospitals, dies at 97


A funeral mass for Daughter of Charity Sister Mary Clare (Anne Clare) Hughes was offered on June 30 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg. Sister Mary Clare passed away on June 25. She was 97 years old.

Born in Baltimore, Sister Mary Clare graduated from Seton High School in 1942. On December 14, 1942, she entered the Daughters of Charity in her parish, St. Elizabeth of Hungary in Highlandtown.

In the Archdiocese of Baltimore, from 1962 to 1983, Sister Mary Clare served in the Emmitsburg Province leadership of her religious community, as provincial councilor and assistant (1962-1974) and as a visitor from 1974 in 1983. She was then sent to Sacred Heart Hospital. in Cumberland and served as a pastoral coordinator for a year.

Sister Mary Clare also served in pastoral ministry at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore (1998-2001) and as trustee of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton National Shrine in Emmitsburg (2001-2005).

Elsewhere, Sister Mary Clare ministered in West Virginia, Florida, Michigan and the Archdiocese of Washington. She was president and CEO of St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Jacksonville, Florida from 1986 to 1993.

Sister Mary Clare had a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in nursing administration and public health from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

“Religious life is (on the verge of) becoming a very dear friend of Jesus,” Sister Mary Clare told the Catholic Review in a 2022 interview.

She said one of her fondest memories was her visit to the Vatican for the canonization of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American-born saint.

“I’m going to see (Holy) Pope Paul VI and all I can think of is all he did for the church, he fought so hard against abortion,” a- she noted. “When I got there I looked at it and forgot everything I was going to say.”

It was one of the “most humorous occasions” of her life, she said. He then walked with Sister Mary Clare to a table displaying the American flag, bent down, patted the stripes, and put his hand on the stars.

“He understood what motivates the American people,” she noted. “He showed his affection for us that day in the way he treated us.”

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