Sr. Claire Alda

Novembre 6, 1913 – February 20, 2007

On the evening of February 20, 2007, at Taché Centre, Sister Claire Alda, (Muriel Cloutier), who longingly spoke of Heaven as a Place where I will be able to sing soprano and alto at the same time had her wish granted. She left us to join the Celestial Choir.

Born in Duluth, Minnesota on November 6, 1913, Muriel was the youngest child in a family of seven, all of whom preceded her in death. Her mother died when she was five, and she then moved in with her Aunt Lottie where she resided until her father’s remarriage two years later. Muriel started Grade One at St. Jean Baptiste School in Duluth the same year the Sisters of the Holy Names arrived in this French-speaking parish. Muriel loved school, and flourished under the care of the Sisters. It was no surprise that she chose to join them in Religious Life and entered the Novitiate a few months after graduation. She pronounced vows in 1933, and after teaching a year in Montreal, returned to St. Jean’s where she remained for 28 years, teaching English and religion at the high school level. Her comment, I can sing tolerably well, was an understatement. She also had artistic gifts, and under her direction school operettas became magical events (produced on a shoe-string budget!).

In 1962, Sister Claire Alda completed her Masters Degree in English at the University of Marquette. The following year, her dream of a lifetime came true: She was named for the Missions, and left for Lesotho, where she remained for 20 years, most of them at St. Theresa’s Mission. English teacher, school principal, Superior: these were her official functions. She will likely be remembered, however, for the Shakespearian productions she directed that proved so outstanding her students were invited to perform them in Maseru; for her classes in cement making and tile creation that helped upgrade the mud floors in both homes and schools; for the Support Group she organized for the women whose husbands worked in the mines of South Africa.

Ill health brought Sr. Claire Alda back to Canada in 1982. Typically, she continued to use her talents to help others, teaching English to new immigrants and adding her creative touch to community celebrations. Increasing blindness over the last 10 years of her life forced her to let go of many things, but she accepted this limitation and her loneliness with Faith. Now is the time for me to let God take over. And He did.