Sr. Francis Joan Clements, age 94 of the Sisters of St. Francis in Oldenburg, Indiana, died Sunday, October 6, 2019 at the convent. Born Anita Evelyn Clements on June 2, 1925 in Clementsville, Kentucky, she is the daughter of Anna and Robert Clements, the third of four children.
Because her father contracted malaria during World War I, he was not able to work in the sun. He found employment in a factory in Cincinnati, Ohio and came home on the weekends to his family in Kentucky. The family moved to Cincinnati when she was young so they could be together. She started her education at St. Clement where she first met the Sisters of St. Francis. Eventually the family returned to Clementsville, where she would graduate from St. Bernard School. She entered the Franciscan community in 1945 and earned her BA in education from Marian University, later furthering her education at Xavier University and Cumberland College.
She taught at schools in Indiana, Ohio and Missouri. When asked which grade was her favorite, she responded, “Teaching the fifth grade was my favorite. Fifth graders felt like learning could be fun and often told me that I made it enjoyable. Math was my favorite subject to teach. Sr. Florence Marie was my math teacher and she really inspired me to learn more about it. I also found it rewarding to offer a class at Marian University for Sisters who were going to teach in inner-city schools.”
After returning to the Motherhouse in 1988, Sr. Francis Joan served as a dorm monitor for Oldenburg Academy and beginning in 1992, served in Pastoral Care before retiring in 2008. She often reminded others, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life,” as she found all her years as a Franciscan to be rich and meaningful as she gave her life to God.
Sr. Francis Joan is survived by nieces and nephews. In addition to her parents, she is also preceded in death by sisters Patricia Wassermann, Mary Masters and brother William Clements. Visitation is Friday, October 11th from 1 – 3 p.m. at the convent. Funeral services will follow at 3 p.m. with Rev. Robert Weakley OFM officiating and burial will follow in the convent cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Sisters of St. Francis, P.O. Box 100, Oldenburg, Indiana, 47036 (www.OldenburgFranciscans.org). Weigel Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.