Written by Patricia Glinton-Meicholas
A native Nassauvian, Sister Clare Rolle was born to Zacharias Rolle and Albertha We Edgecombe). She grew up in the Parish of Our Lady of the Holy Souls. Her vocation was stimulated by her contact with the Sisters of Saint Martin who taught her in her early school years and with whom she began to work when she was fifteen. She credited Father Marcian Peters, OSB with answering many of her questions about religious life. When she as doubtful as to how to approach her mother on the subject, Father Marcian assisted. She entered Saint Martin’s Convent on 2nd February, 1956, made first vows on 11th October, 1958 and Perpetual Vows on the same day in 1964.
Sister Clare was educated at Xavier’s College and Aquinas College in Nassau. She began her teaching mission as early as 1961, when she was sent to Bimini to teach Grade I. She would spend five years there at Holy Name School with three others. In 1966 she went to Minnesota, where she taught
St Boniface School in Cold Spring.
Returning home two years later, she was assigned to St Joseph’s School. Sister Clare continued her education at the College of St Benedict (1971-1974), completing a bachelor’s degree there. She enrolled at Gonzaga University in 1989 to pursue a master’s degree in Pastoral Ministry and Counseling, which she was awarded in 1990.
It was following the completion of her first degree, that Sister Clare would begin an impressive career in leadership and programme direction. Between 1974 and 1976, she served as Formation Director of the Monastery. She next filled in as Acting Principal at St Cecilia’s. She went on to assist Rev. Deacon Peter Rahming, Administrator of Resurrection Parish from 1978 to 1986, after which period followed a year’s sabbatical in Spokane, Washington in 1988. In 1992 she was elected Regional Superior of St Martin Monastery. When Saint Martin became an independent monastery in the Federation of St Benedict, Sister Clare Rolle had the distinction of becoming its first Prioress (1994-1998).
The work for which Sister Clare Rolle would become best known began in 1990, when Bishop Lawrence Burke, SJ invited the Sisters of Saint Martin to participate in a Samaritan Ministry to work with persons afflicted with HIV/ AIDS, which was then very much a disease attracting a powerful social stigma and, consequently, little financial support. Sister Clare was appointed
Director, a role in which she felt comfortable because of her training in counseling and work with cancer patients earlier. She enhanced her expertise working for a year out of a Catholic Hospice in the United States (1990-1991) and yet again in 1998 by taking up studies at St Cloud University, Minnesota to become Certified Nursing Assistant and completing a practicum at a nursing home there. In 2007 Sister Clare was still coordinating the Samaritan Ministries.