Sister Margaret Clarke, age 75, died on April 29, 2014, at St. Scholastica Monastery. She was in the fifty-second year of her Monastic Profession.
Margaret was born on June 19, 1938, in San Jose, California. Mr. Clarke was a career Marine and the family moved to many areas including the Pacific Northwest, the Mojave Desert in California, San Francisco, and Hawaii—where Margaret graduated from high school.
Following her high school graduation, Margaret began her college studies at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where she majored in chemistry and minored in math and philosophy. She was received into the Catholic Church on February 9, 1957. Within the next year Margaret desired to enter religious life. She selected the Benedictines because they prayed the Divine Office in choir and had a college.
She entered St. Scholastica Monastery as a postulant on September 13, 1959. Sister Margaret professed her Triennial First Vows on July 11, 1961, and her Perpetual Vows on July 11, 1964. She celebrated her Silver Jubilee on August 17, 1986, and her Golden Jubilee on August 14, 2011. She finished her Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry, along with minors in math, philosophy, and education from Gonzaga University in 1962. Sister Margaret received a grant in 1965 from the National Science Foundation to pursue a Master’s degree in chemistry at Marquette University during her summers. She received her Master of Science degree in analytical chemistry in 1968. From 1972 to 75 she attended Oregon State University, where in 1976 she received a Ph.D. in physical science with a concentration in radiation physics and the history of science. Sister Margaret also completed graduate course work in geology and astronomy at Macalester College, St. Paul, MN, in 1963; in Counseling at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, MN, 1965, 1967; and in College Science Teaching at Earlham College, Richmond, IN, 1970.
Having a remarkable expanse of knowledge of, expertise in, and downright passion for numerous areas of study, Sister Margaret taught an impressive body of courses in her 40-year teaching career at The College of St. Scholastica. She began her teaching career at Stanbrook Hall High School where she taught the physical sciences and mathematics from 1962-67. She also taught the physical sciences at Duluth Cathedral High School (1967-68). Then, in 1969, she was appointed to the faculty of the Physical Science Department at The College of St. Scholastica where she began as an instructor and eventually became a full-tenured professor in 1981. Her love of Celtic Myth and Folklore led her to participate in the College’s Irish Studies Program, Louisburgh, Co. Mayo, Ireland, as a faculty member in 1984 and 2000. Sister Margaret received The College of St. Scholastica’s prestigious Lavine Award for Teaching Excellence in 1994. She was also a long-term member of the American Association of Physics Teachers.
During her years at The College of St. Scholastica, Sister Margaret was the Natural Science Division Chair from 1992–2000; the Physical Science Department Chair from 1982-2006; and Acting Director of the Master’s Program in Education from 1985-1987. In addition, she faithfully served on numerous committees and task forces.
Always an active member of her Benedictine Community during her fifty years as a Sister, Sister Margaret served on the first liturgy committee in the late 60’s, several terms on the long-range planning committee, on the monastic council, as chapter secretary for a year, parliamentarian to the Chapter, as a delegate to the Federation Chapter several times, and as a member of the Federation Juridic Committee for fifteen years. She also served on St. Mary’s Medical Center Board of Directors from 1981-1988, and on the Benedictine Health Center Board of Trustees, 1997-2003.
Sister Margaret was preceded in death by her parents, Margaret M. (Miller), John W. Jackson, and step-father Raymond H, Clarke. Along with her Benedictine Sisters, she is survived by her brothers, Raymond Clarke, Jr. and Charles, her sisters, Collette Cantrell and Mary Ellen Baldwin, nieces, nephews, friends and many colleagues.
On Tuesday May 13, 2014, Morning Prayer and Wake was at 9:45 a.m. in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel at St. Scholastica Monastery. Her Funeral Mass was at 11:00 a.m. in the Chapel with Father Brian Schultz presiding. Interment followed at Gethsemane Cemetery. Memorials to St. Scholastica Monastery are preferred. Arrangements were by the Bell Brothers Jarvi Dowd Funeral Home.