Franciscan Sister Chooses St. Clare for Namesake

by Sister Julie Ann on April 15, 2013

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Clarita Ryan reflects on her call to be a consecrated woman religious.


Very early in my life I had a desire to be a Sister. One of my favorite pastimes was to play school with my friends. I always took the part of the teacher. When there weren’t enough friends to be students, our family dog was a good substitute.

My parents, Frank and Hattie Ryan, had four children – two boys and two girls. I am the youngest. We belonged to Holy Redeemer Parish in Madison. There I was baptized, received my First Communion and was confirmed in the Catholic faith.

The Notre Dame Sisters taught in the parish school during my grade school years. As I was contemplating a religious vocation, Sister Carolyn, a favorite teacher of mine, encouraged me and gave me a special book of prayers. All her letters to me now are still filled with the love of God.

Picture2So, how did it come about that I entered a Franciscan Community! My mother and dad were good friends of Sister Maribeth Zehnpfennig, a Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity. Sister Maribeth’s great kindness and friendship with my parents inspired me in my vocation and I entered Holy Family Convent in Manitowoc, WI.

My mother had great devotion to St. Clare. As my Reception drew Franciscan-Sister-Clarita-Ryan-and-familynear, she set about looking for a derivative of the name Clare that was not already taken by a Sister in the Community. At my Reception I was given the name Clarita.

During much of my apostolic life, I served in the education field as teacher and principal. I found I also liked taking care of the sick, which led to one of the most rewarding experiences in my apostolic life. I was asked to be a homemaker/companion for retired Bishop Aloysius Wycislo. At first I felt very inadequate and not worthy to accept this assignment. But once I said, “Yes,” this position was filled with countless blessings and joy. I was privileged to be with Bishop Wycislo during his last days on earth. I know he is now caring for me!

We invite you to our May 17-19, 2013 Vocation Discernment Retreat. Click here to register.

3 thoughts on “Franciscan Sister Chooses St. Clare for Namesake”

  1. Sr. Caritas says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this story of one of our Sisters. It’s so good to hear their stories, God’s call and how it came about, and how they responded. Love it.

  2. Sister Sue Ann Hall says:

    What a better way to spread the Good News then through the lives of our sisters. The more we can share our lives with each other the better we respect and understand how God has worked throught them and make us what we are today. Thank you Sister Clarita.

  3. Sister Clarita’s kindness and determination have often been an inspiration to me. Thank you for posting her story.

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