In Memory

Sister M. Cletus Burke, IHM

February 22, 1887 – February 10, 1964

Sister M. Cletus Burke, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Monday, February 10, 1964 at the Marian Convent in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

She was born on February 22, 1887 in Durell, Pennsylvania, and given the name Ellen Agnes. She was the daughter of the late James P. and Mary A. Fitzgerald Burke. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1906, received the religious habit on July 16, 1907, and made profession of her vows on April 13, 1909.

Sister Cletus served as a teacher at the following schools: St. Leo High School in Ashley, PA, from 1909 to 1910; St. Mary of the Mount High School in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1910 to 1929 and 1932 to 1939; St. John High School in Pittston, PA, from 1929 to 1932; St. Ann High School in Scranton, PA, from 1951 to 1953; and Immaculate Conception High School in Lock Haven, PA, from 1953 to 1957.

Sister served as principal at the following schools: All Saints High School in Masontown, PA, from 1939 to 1941; St. Rosalia High School in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1941 to 1947; and St. Joseph High School in Williamsport, PA from 1947 to 1951.

From 1957 until the time of her death, Sister Cletus served as a prayer minister at the Marian Convent.

She was preceded in death by a brother, Cornelius.

Interment is at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Moscow, Pennsylvania.

Memorial contributions may be made to support the retired IHM Sisters c/o the IHM Sisters Retirement Fund, IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509.

Below is an archival reflection about our Sister M. Cletus Burke:

All of our Sisters who were privileged to work with Sister Cletus give ready testimony to her splendid spirit of helpfulness and inspiration. No school activity could be a burden with Sister Cletus as a co-worker. She was a master of every situation; she could solve all mechanical difficulties; she was a prudent, joyous religious, delightful in conversation and recreation; and gifted with an infectious humor which could lighten many a difficult moment. No self-seeking ever spoiled her generous gift of herself to all community interests. Ill health was her almost constant companion, but her sturdy character enabled her to combat weakness and to weather sickness. In the classroom, she was an outstanding teacher gifted with the ability to impart knowledge, and as her students often said: “She makes us learn.” Former students readily testify to their indebtedness to her and express their deep gratitude for her teaching and guidance. Her gentle loving spirit remained with her to the end, as she calmly wondered “Why it took so long to die?” May our Congregation be blessed with many Sisters who like our beloved Sister Cletus know how to lighten the burdens of others and to shed glory in our teaching apostolate. May she rest in peace.

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