Sister Clara Linz, a member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame who had cared for children and the sick and also had been a teacher's aide, died Friday of dementia at Villa Assumpta, her order's Woodbrook motherhouse. She was 91.
The daughter of Conrad J. Linz, a Coast Guard pipe fitter, and Anna Mary Teljohann Linz, a homemaker, Clara Dolores Linz was born in Baltimore, one of 16 children.
She was raised in a rowhouse in the 3500 block of Foster Ave. in Highlandtown that was across the street from Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church, where she observed the School Sisters of Notre Dame ushering Sacred Heart School students to Mass each morning.
Sister Clara attended Sacred Heart School through the eighth grade and as a teenager often ran errands for the sisters who lived in the nearby convent.
She entered the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1939 and graduated from the Institute of Notre Dame. She professed her final vows in 1949.
Because of serious vision problems, Sister Clara was prevented from pursuing her goal of becoming a teacher of young children.
Sister Clara worked as a homemaker at the convent at St. Augustine in Elkridge, and in a similar capacity at convents in Glen Cove, N.Y., and South Ozone Park, N.Y.
She returned to Baltimore in 1957. She was assigned to the motherhouse until 1961, when she became prefect for girls, overseeing 25 children, at the St. Vincent's orphanage in Tacony, Pa.
From 1971 to 1973, she was a teacher's aide for special-education students at Saints James & John School in Baltimore.
In addition to working as a home nurse for the Red Cross, she cared for infirm sisters at the Woodbrook motherhouse and for the sick at what is now the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center.
Sister Clara was then assigned in 1981 as a Eucharistic minister at Sacred Heart of Jesus in Highlandtown, where she visited the sick and dying. She functioned in a similar capacity from 1985 to 1987 at St. Brigid's Roman Catholic Church in Canton.
From 1987 to 1991, she oversaw a social service and spiritual ministry at Canton Harbor Nursing Center in Canton. She continued her pastoral ministry in Southeast Baltimore until retiring to Villa Assumpta in 1993.
"Sister Clara was particularly concerned about the inequities of health care in the U.S. and personally strived to help the physically infirm retain their human dignity," according to a news release from her order announcing her death.
"She was always so good to everyone," said a sister, Betty Gilbert of Perry Hall. "Even though she was demented, she remained cheerful, and when we'd take her down the hall in her wheelchair and she saw someone, she'd say, 'God bless you.'"
A Mass of Christian burial for Sister Clara will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday in the chapel at Villa Assumpta, 6401 N. Charles St.
In addition to Mrs. Gilbert, Sister Clara is survived by a brother, John Linz of Ocean City; and five other sisters, Helen Slaughter and Dolores Stotler, both of Baltimore, Kathleen Loverde of Perry Hall, Joan Hughes of Bel Air and Jane Phillips of Parkton.