Friday November 7th
-Calling Hours for viewing is 8:30AM to 10:30Am
-Followed by 10:30 Wake Service-
followed by the Eucharistic Funeral Mass at 11:15AM
Sister Claire Andre Gagliardi
May 7, l948 - November 4, 2014
Mary Ann Gagliardi, born on May 7, l948, in Brooklyn, New York, was the oldest of six children born to Andrew and Claire (nee Marion) Gagliardi. The family later moved to lower Manhattan where the children attended a Catholic school run by the Sisters of St. John the Baptist. When Mary Ann was ready for high school she ferried to Staten Island daily to continue her education at St. John Villa Academy a school also run by the Sisters of St. John the Baptist. The family finally moved to Staten Island in the vicinity of the school.
During her high school years Mary Ann experienced a growing desire to join the Sisters of St. John the Baptist. which she did shortly after her graduation, taking the name of Sister Claire Andre after both her mother and father. Sister was appointed as a teacher, while continuing her education during week-ends and summers. Sister Claire Andre enjoyed teaching for which she showed a natural ability and proved to be very effective in disciplining the children, especially the mischievous boys. In later years when she met her former pupils, they often thanked her for helping to improve their direction in life.
Although Sister was happy in her vocation she began to experience a growing attraction towards the contemplative life and eventually applied to enter the Poor Clare Nuns in Bordentown, New Jersey, to which community she transferred in l975. She had some difficulty in adjusting to the new lifestyle, and went back to the Sisters of St. John the Baptist for a short time, but soon overcame her doubts and returned to the Monastery, assured that the contemplative life was for her
After she completed her formation period, Sister took part in various functions, notably as treasurer and later as Novice Directress. In the 1990’s, Sister was elected as Abbess, an office which she held for several terms. Later, health problems, notably diabetes and a weight problem, caused Sister to resign from the leadership role and eventually to spend time at a weight-loss program, which she did quite successfully. However, after returning to the Monastery in 2013, she continued to have health problems, especially a chronic kidney problem. Looking ahead, Sister was not open to the possible need for dialysis treatment but preferred to go on Hospice treatment until the Lord called her home. She was happy with this decision and went ahead with these plans.
When Sister Claire Andre was growing up, her Mother had always depended upon her, as the oldest child, to help with the care of the younger children and with other household responsibilities. The children looked on her almost as a second mother. Even after she left the family circle to enter religious life, they remained on a warm and intimate basis with her, seeking her advice and comfort in times of crisis. This closeness has passed on to the nephews and nieces.
Sister Claire Andre had a very likeable personality and made friends easily. She had several people who came to her for spiritual direction, a process to which she was well adapted. She will be greatly missed by her family, her religious family, and her innumerable friends Please remember her lovingly in your prayers. May she rest in peace!.
By Sister Natalie Hayes OSC