Mary Claire Kennedy, SSJ

Mary Claire Kennedy, SSJ
70-year Jubilee

As a student at Villa Maria College, Sr. Mary Claire Kennedy learned of the rich social teachings of the Church and experienced individuals, lay and religious, who lived their faith very seriously. This had a profound effect on her and led her to join the Sisters of St. Joseph. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph from her home parish, St. Joseph in Erie, PA, in1951 and professed her final vows in 1956.

Sister Mary Claire attended Academy High School and graduated from Villa Maria College in Erie with a BS in Chemistry.  She continued her studies at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, where she earned an MS in organic chemistry and a Ph.D. in biochemistry.

Sister Mary Claire taught at Villa Maria Academy and St. Peter Cathedral Schools in Erie. At Villa Maria College, she served as the Chemistry Department Chair and as Associate Professor. She ministered at Saint Vincent Hospital as a Clinical Chemist and an Instructor in the School of Medical Technology and School of Nursing. She served as a visiting professor at the Institute for Enzyme Research at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She was a professor of biochemistry at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. She was a visiting scholar on the faculty of Biology at the University of Konstanz, Germany, and was the recipient of Fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Service. Sister Mary Claire also served as a research consultant at Gannon University in Erie.

Sister Mary Claire served on the Congregation’s Council and as its social justice coordinator for many years. In 2015 she was the recipient of the Archbishop Oscar Romero Award from Mercyhurst University and in 2018, she was honored locally during National Catholic Sisters Week for her work in social justice.  Sister Mary Claire retired from active ministry in 2017.

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