Sister Agnes Clare
Sister Agnes Clare

Sister Agnes Clare (Josephine) Vitale, 100, died on July 2 at the Lurana Health Care Residence of St. Francis Convent, Graymoor in Garrison. She had been a Franciscan Sister of the Atonement for 83 years.

Sister Agnes Clare was born in Manhattan on Nov. 26, 1919, to Carmela (Salvino) and Vincenzo Vitale, and raised in Brooklyn. In high school, she attended an inspirational vocation fair offered by various religious orders and desired to become a missionary. At 18, she entered the community of the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement on March 29, 1937. As a novice in September of 1937, she received the name Sister Agnes Clare. She professed her first vows on Oct. 1, 1938. As an Atonement missionary for 82 years, Sister Agnes Clare served in various areas of parish, catechetical and pastoral ministries in the Diocese of Albany for 44 years.

She ministered in New York State with significant years in Lake Placid, Port Leyden, Adams and Amsterdam. Her missionary endeavors included 12 years in Rome, Italy, during the war years where she cared for orphans. Sister Agnes Clare served two terms in congregational leadership — fourth councilor (1972-76) and second councilor (1976-78). During those years, she lived in Amsterdam, where she ministered for 42 years (1971-2013). In 2007, she received the Mary Reed Newland Award, which honors advocates for Catholic families and children.

Sister Agnes Clare had been the superior at the convent on Market Street and later lived in the senior subsidized housing until 2013. She coordinated religious education for St. Michael’s and St. Mary’s parishes, was known for her generosity, hospitality and love for children and made Halloween a festive time for years by decorating and giving out candy.

She is survived by her Sisters in Community, her brother, Thomas Ventura, her closest niece, Kathy Vitale Atkinson, other nieces, nephews and their families. She is predeceased by two sisters (Lucille and Eleanor), and four brothers (Edward, Joseph, Sam and John).

A private funeral Mass was held on July 3 at Graymoor. A memorial service with family and friends will be held at a later date. Donations in Sister Agnes Clare’s memory can be made to Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement, 41 Old Highland Turnpike, Garrison, N.Y., 10524.