Sister Clara attended the Maryland Institute College of Art through the 1970s, at a time when some believed that “a degree in Fine Arts led nowhere.” Although slight in stature, Sister Clara’s nature - lively, determined and courageous - buoyed her while teaching full time, tending to community service, and pursuing her degree. “If you don’t feel well, you push a little then.” Sister Clara received a Master’s degree in Fine Arts in 1979 and has an extensive portfolio, recently digitized, of her sculptures, etchings, paintings, block prints, silk screens and jewelry to prove it.
Sister Clara talked about the wonderful experience she had as a student at the Maryland Institute, but also the difficult days. In some ways, the 1970s were a continuation of the turbulent 60s, playing out against a backdrop of opposition toward the Catholic Church. Sister Clara, dressed in what was then traditional for SSND, a black dress and veil, said she felt she was at the college campus at that time for a reason, “I think God puts you where you belong.” Many of the other art students embraced her disciplined lifestyle, appreciated her nonconformist spirit, and confided in her - she developed some deep and lasting friendships. Sister Clara said of the students, “Scrub them down and they were good kids.”