Sister Mary Claude Power, PBVM, (baptismal name Virginia) died on January 29, 2017, at the Presentation Motherhouse in San Francisco.
A native of San Francisco, California, Sister Claude was born on April 27, 1926, and was a Sister of the Presentation for seventy-two years having entered in 1945. She was predeceased by her loving parents, Virginia Boyce and William Power, her brother William Power, and sisters, Mary Ellen Power and Marge Power Whelan. Sister Claude leaves her devoted sister, Joan Power Healy, nieces, a nephew, cousins and their families, as well as her loving Presentation Sisters and Associates.
She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in theology from the University of San Francisco. During the first seventeen years of her ministry, she taught in Presentation elementary schools in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Montebello, and Oakland. She was also principal of Saint Joseph Elementary School, Berkeley, and Saint Patrick Elementary School, San Jose.
In 1965, Sister Claude began her ministry at the Department of Education with the Archdiocese of San Francisco where she spent seventeen years as Diocesan Supervisor, Assistant Superintendent, and Associate Superintendent of Schools; she was the first woman to be named Associate Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
In 1981, when the new Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose was created, Sister Claude became the first Superintendent of Schools for our Diocese and served in this position until 1999.
In addition to her outstanding ministry in education, Sister Claude served on the leadership team of the Sisters of the Presentation in two different periods from 1970 to 1981, and from 2000 to 2004.
Sister Claude contributed to the statewide and national growth of Catholic schools by serving as the first woman chairperson of the California Catholic Conference of Superintendents and on the Elementary Executive Committee of the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA).
In 1991, she received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award from Pope John Paul II; in 1997, she was honored as a Distinguished Educator and one of the twenty-five most influential educators in Catholic education on the previous twenty-five years by NCEA; and in 1999, she was honored for moving educational technology forward within the schools. In 2000, she received an honorary doctorate from Santa Clara University and in 2002, she was the recipient of the Institute for Catholic Educational Leadership Award from the University of San Francisco.
Most recently, Sister Claude has been a presence of hospitality to many groups at Presentation Center in Los Gatos.
Memorial contributions to the Sisters of the Presentation are preferred and can be sent to Sisters of the Presentation, Development Office, 281 Masonic Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94118.