Sister Loretta Tiernan, S.H.C.J., a Sister of the Holy Child Jesus for 60 years, died Feb. 5 at Holy Child Center in Rosemont. She was 80.
Born and raised in Waukegan, Ill., Sister Loretta was the second daughter of Frank and Clara (Brozowski) Tiernan. Sister Loretta attended Holy Child High School, where she first met the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus.
From an early age she dreamed of having a family until “God stepped in,” she said. It was during a high school senior year retreat that she felt a call to religious life. At first her parents were disappointed in the decision but they eventually gave their blessing and she entered the Society of the Holy Child Jesus in 1956. She became well known by the religious name Mother Mary Clarice. She made her final vows in 1964.
Sister Loretta earned an undergraduate degree in history from Loyola University Chicago in 1965 and a master of arts in teaching math from the University of Detroit in 1975.
Much to her parent’s delight, Sister Loretta returned to the Midwest to teach at several Catholic schools there followed by stints in Oregon and California.
In 1977, Sister Loretta returned to the Philadelphia area where she taught at Holy Child Academy in Sharon Hill.
Two years later returned to Waukegan where she became a minster at Victory Hospital, which became a turning point in her life. She began a new ministry in pastoral care that extended for nearly three decades.
She was named pastoral associate and minister of care at SS. Joseph and Bartholomew Parish, a predominately Spanish-speaking community. The scope of her ministry grew as the parish consolidated with other parishes. She served people of all ages and visited the sick and aging. She also learned Spanish to lead Communion services when a priest was unavailable to celebrate Mass.
As her Parkinson disease progressed, Sister Loretta moved to Holy Child Center in 2009 where she heartily participated in activities and enjoyed her friendships.
Sister Maureen Duffy, S.H.C.J., said, “Sister Loretta was always kind and gracious and had a sense of humor. She was a good listener and never complained even as the disease progressed.”
The funeral Mass was celebrated Feb. 9 at Holy Child Chapel, Rosemont. Burial was at Ascension Cemetery in Libertyville, Ill.
Sister Loretta is survived by her sister Mary Ann Grazier, nieces Diane Richardson (Gerald) and Heather Grazier (James) and nephews Thomas Grazier (Susan) and Kenneth Grazier (Diane). She was predeceased by her brother-in-law Robert L. Grazier and her nephews Barry J. Grazier and James R. Grazier.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to Society of the Holy Child Jesus – American Province, 1341 Montgomery Avenue, Rosemont, PA 19010, or make a gift online at www.shcj.org/american/donate.
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