Sr. Claudette Simard, fmm
A "down-Mainer" born in Lewiston on September 21, 1932, Claudette was the fourth of five children. At a very early age, she felt God calling her to the religious life and from fifth grade on, she wanted to be a missionary.
Claudette always loved sports, especially skiing-and her home state offered many places to ski. When there was no snow in 1950, she took to biking around the Gaspee Peninsula and played on the local women's softball teams. She actively participated in many parochial groups including the Brownies and Girl Scouts, even becoming a Troop Leader.
After high school, Claudette followed her childhood yearning for religious life and was directed to the Institute of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary by a friend of Sister Liephard, fmm. She visited the sisters at St. Clement's in Boston and entered at Fruit Hill on September 1951. She received the habit in March 1952 and made First Vows in 1954. Her ministry was with the children in Divine Providence Shelter in Manhattan, NY . Then she was sent to Clement's to begin nursing studies. She studied at Boston College and completed her BSN degree. She pronounced her final vows March 19, 1957.
She obtained her RN license in 1958. In 1959, Claudette was missioned to Paramonga, Peru, where she worked eight years in a small hospital where, she says, "the nursing experiences were wonderful and fulfilling". She journeyed to the mission outposts to visit families and teach catechism, her Spanish improved greatly. She was sent to Leon, Mexico in 1967. Here she served in the dispensary and nursing home for poor elderly women for eight years. After this she was missioned to Lorna Alvernia, a small farm with camping facilities where teenage groups went to Faith Growth Camping weekends. She loved this ministry. On the farm there, the sisters tried to raise pigs to help province finances but after a number of years of hard labor they could not compete with the other area farms and had to discontinue the project.
In 1981, four years after becoming ill, Claudette was missioned to the US. She's had many surgeries, but this never-give-up individual keeps going and she seized on a fine idea. She became involved with the Freewheelers Association of Rhode Island, an organization providing rehabilitative and recreational group outings for frail nursing home residents dependent on wheelchairs for their mobility. Claudette has also served as Spanish to English translator for sessions in Grottaferrata. Italy.
Her present ministry is in the Development Office of the United States Province serving as an assistant.