Although Sr. Clare Wieckowski grew up in Philadelphia, she didn’t meet the Franciscans until she began secondary school at Little Flower High School. There she actually met sisters from 10 different congregations. Her relationship with the Franciscans began in her science and business classes—and those encounters made a lasting impression. “Their presence and sense of caring for their students was a witness,” Sr. Clare recalled. “Their dedication and commitment to education was outstanding.” However, Sr. Clare also credits an unspoken influence even closer to home with her leaning toward a Franciscan life. “I believe my grandmother was the person who— without words—steered me to the Franciscans,” she explained. “She was a Third Order Secular Franciscan and a very prayerful woman.”

Sr. Clare’s earlier years in ministry were in education—both as teacher and assistant principal. Then in 2001 came a new call to a totally different type of ministry. She was asked to serve as an intern in the congregational finance office. She accepted the challenge and in 2002 was appointed congregational treasurer, a position in which she continues to serve. Sr. Clare’s days are busy ones. As congregational treasurer she oversees all aspects of the local house budgets, providing local treasurers with needed materials, dealing with any unexpected needs, and collaborating with coworkers on reconciling the monthly accounts. Weave those accounts into information garnered from the investment accounts and the National Retirement Reports and the tapestry that becomes our Annual Report begins to emerge! She also deals with the everyday issues and questions connected with health insurance— for example, dealing with Medicare, AmeriHealth, and the various providers of prescription coverage. Sr. Clare is also responsible for the complexities involved in dealing with Social Security payments and benefits. Together with Sharon Laydon, director of finance, Sr. Clare also meets periodically with the leadership team to present the various financial reports. As a “member of the congregation,” she also attends the corporation portion of all congregational council meetings.

How does Sr. Clare relax after a day filled with numbers, questions, and oft-repeated attempts to actually speak with a “real person” at an insurance company? Relaxation for her comes from listening to music, enjoying a variety of types of puzzles, and watching—and enjoying—sporting events. And about this current ministry that is so different from her earlier years in education? Sr. Clare acknowledges the ongoing challenges—“continuing to learn the many different aspects for which the finance office is responsible: budgeting, legal issues, government programs—to name a few.” But she is quick to point out what she considers the blessing of her ministry—“serving and collaborating with the staff in the finance office. The relationships that have been formed have been the greatest blessing!”

Members of the Finance Office meet to review the latest financial reports. (l-r): Sue Randazo, Sharon Laydon, Sr. Michele O’Brien, Bill Webb, Sr. Karen Pourby, Sr. Clare Wieckowski, Russell Moore.