Birth: July 11, 1924
Profession: July 29, 1955
Death: January 18, 2014
Religious of the Sacred Heart Claire Kondolf died January 18, at Teresian House in Albany, New York. An outstanding school administrator who was always willing to share her time and talent – and always with a smile – Sister Kondolf will be remembered in a Mass of Christian Burial at 1:30 on Thursday, January 23 in the chapel at Teresian House. Visitation will be one hour prior to the funeral. Burial will be at the Society of the Sacred Heart cemetery at Kenwood.
Claire Teresa Kondolf was born July 11, 1924 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania to Mathias and Claire Kondolf. She was predeceased by her parents and two brothers, M. Richard Kondolf and Karl Q. Kondolf. She is survived by her sister-in-law, Helen Kondolf, and several nieces and nephews. She entered the Society of the Sacred Heart at the Kenwood Convent in Albany, New York on September 8, 1947. She professed her first vows March 8, 1950 at Kenwood and made her final vows at the Society of the Sacred Heart motherhouse in Rome on July 29, 1955. She once said her vocation was her life: “It has made my life God’s life.”
Lively, inquisitive, forward thinking and fun-loving, she enjoyed conversation and was a great entertainer and story-teller. She made deep and lasting friendships and was loyal to her friends. She will be missed by her family, other Religious of the Sacred Heart and the caring staff at Teresian House.
Sister Kondolf began her education ministry at the Convent of Sacred Heart in New York City m 1950. She also taught in the Sacred Heart Schools in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania (Overbrook); Boston (Newton Academy); and Bethesda (Stone Ridge, 1955-63) before becoming assistant superior and treasurer for her Sacred Heart community in Bethesda in 1961 to 1963. From 1963 to 1971, she served as treasurer and director of development at Newton College of the Sacred Heart (now part of Boston College). From 1971 to 1978, she was director of development and assistant principal at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart in Miami. She became headmistress at Forest Ridge Academy of the Sacred Heart in Seattle in 1978 and served until 1982, when she moved to Grand Coteau, Louisiana as headmistress of the Academy of the Sacred Heart there. While at the Academy in Grand Coteau, her love of horses prompted her to establish the popular and innovative equestrian program.
In 1987, she began editing the Society newsletter from the novitiate in Newton, Massachusetts, a task she continued for 15 years. In 1991, she went to Sprout Creek Farm, a ministry of the Society of the Sacred Heart, in Poughkeepsie as administrator. Later she lived in Washington, DC, where she served the Society as area director and volunteered at Living Wages, a non-profit providing education for people with little income. She said then, “Our concept of education has broadened,” referring to Religious of the Sacred Heart. “We must educate people in all walks of life and in every part of the world if we are to make this a better place. Where and whatever we can give of ourselves, we must bring to others.”
Sister Kondolf served as trustee for two Schools of the Sacred Heart: Doane Stuart in Albany and Stone Ridge in Bethesda.
“I suspect when people remember Claire they will immediately think of her warm smile which I always thought came from the deep joy that bubbled up from within,” said a Religious of the Sacred Heart who loved her. “She loved life; she loved her life; she shared herself with remarkable generosity and simplicity. Maybe the last, best thing to say about her is that she was great-hearted.”
Sister Kondolf earned a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a minor in philosophy, from Marymount College in Briarcliff, New York, and a Master of Arts in English and education from Manhattanville College. She also took courses at the University of Notre Dame and University of Omaha. She received a Fulbright Scholarship in 1982 for Asian Studies, which sent her to Korea for several months.