Sister Petra Klotz
January 6, 1925 – July 24, 2019
Sister Petra Klotz died on July 24, 2019 at the age of 94. In May, she had enjoyed the celebration of her 75th jubilee with family and friends.
Clementine Klotz was born in Denzil, Saskatchewan, Canada, on January 6, 1925, the Feast of Epiphany - a gift of the Three Kings. She was the tenth child in a family of fourteen. Her parents, Joseph and Katherine, were born in Odessa, Russia.
She attended Denzil school, taught by lay teachers until seventh grade, when the Ursuline sisters took charge of the school. She admired the sisters but was not attracted to entering their community. Her older sister, Sister Josine, had joined School Sisters of Notre Dame, and Clementine felt called to Notre Dame, too.
In July 1939 she received the candidate’s bonnet at Notre Dame Convent in Leipzig, Saskatchewan. The next day she travelled to Waterdown, Ontario with other candidates, where she continued her high school education at Notre Dame Academy and received her religious formation. On July 29, 1943 she was received as Novice Mary Petra. She professed vows on July 31, 1944.
Sister Petra embraced ministries across Western Canada to Ontario and from South America to the Northwest Territories. After attaining her Teaching Certificate from Hamilton Teachers’ College, Sister Petra taught in the following schools: Sacred Heart, Mildmay; Notre Dame, Welland; St. John, Hamilton; Sacred Heart, Ladner, British Columbia; St. Charles, Mearns, Alberta; and Sacred Heart, Walkerton.
In 1965, Sister Petra completed her B.Ed at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta. The following two years she taught at St. Agnes Junior High in Edmonton. Back in Ontario, from 1967 to 1970, she was principal of St. Louis School, Waterloo. She also directed the ladies’ parish choir.
Her missionary spirit took her to Comas, Lima, Peru. Sister Petra was instrumental in instructing youth groups to teach catechism. She also accompanied the youth choir. In five schools in the area she supervised religious education. In the summer of 1978, Sister Petra spent two months in the remote pueblo of Acroco, in Peru. The villagers were eager to have the Sisters present in their community. While in Lima, she attended classes on Theology of Liberation at the University of Lima.
When Sister Petra left Peru in 1982 she had a year of studies at St. Paul University, Ottawa. She then moved to northern Ontario to the Ojibway community on the Grassy Narrows Reserve. Both the Bishop and the Ojibway Chief were eager to have the Sisters respond to the spiritual needs of the people, especially the youth. Her ministry included preparation for the sacraments, home visiting and counselling.
In 1985 Sister Petra returned to her native Saskatchewan, where she was pastoral associate at Our Lady of the Assumption parish in Kerrobert. She then moved to Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories. Since there was no resident priest, she served as parish administrator from 1988-1992. The Sisters encouraged the parishioners to take leadership roles within the parish.
A highlight for Sister Petra was her summer in Japan in 1987. She wrote, “ Living in community with our Japanese Sisters, sharing faith, cultures, learning about their ministries and experiencing their hospitality was a wonderful gift. In addition, spending time in a Buddhist monastery and visiting Hiroshima will hold a lasting memory.”
Before retiring to Notre Dame Convent in 2008 Sister Petra lived in Unity, Saskatchewan, where she was a teacher’s aide and was involved with St. Peter Parish community.
During her years in active ministry she availed herself of courses and conferences related to her various ministries.
Sister Petra enjoyed making birthday cards from recycled cards. Each Sister received a lovely birthday card, as did relatives and friends. She was an avid card player, and she enjoyed playing games on the computer and working on jigsaw puzzles.
To quote Sister Rose Mary Sander at Sister Petra’s wake service, “Sister Petra lived simply and gratefully, rooted in the resilient faith typical of Western Canadian immigrant families. There her faith was born and nurtured and then grew and flourished in our midst.”
Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on July 27, 2019. The presider was Rev. Wayne Lobsinger, Episcopal Vicar for Consecrated Life for the Hamilton Diocese. Concelebrant and homilist was Rev. Pablito Labado, Chaplain.
Her only living sibling is her sister Alice Conly.
- S. Joan Helm