Birth: October 23, 1913
Profession: July 30, 1947
Death: Sept. 1, 2014
Religious of the Sacred Heart Mary T. Clark died Monday, September 1, at Teresian House in Albany, New York. One of the world’s foremost scholars on St. Augustine, Sister Clark taught at Manhattanville College for more than three decades. She will be remembered in a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 AM on Saturday, September 6 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. A memorial event will also be held at Manhattanville College, Purchase, New York, on Sunday, October 26.
Mary Twibill Clark was born in Philadelphia October 23, 1913 to Francis S. and Regina Holland Twibill Clark. Her brothers, George A. Clark and Rev. James D. Clark, and sister, Regina (Mrs. James P.) McGranery predeceased her. She is survived by nieces and nephews and their children and grandchildren, as well as her sisters in the Society of the Sacred Heart. She entered the Society at Kenwood June 15, 1939 and made her first vows there in 1941. She made her final profession in Rome in 1947.
Sister Clark made her first foray into a philosophy classroom at Manhattanville College in 1951. She left for a year at Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York (91st Street) and returned to Manhattanville in 1953. After thirty-three years of teaching philosophy, twelve as department chairman, she “retired” and became professor emerita, teaching each spring semester. Her research and writing were primarily on Augustine, Neoplatonic philosophy and Thomas Aquinas. The college named an endowed chair in her honor, the Mary T. Clark, RSCJ, Chair of Christian Philosophy, and Sister Clark was the first to hold that position. She served as a visiting professor at St. John Neumann Seminary for more than twenty years, teaching in the fall semester. Over the years, she also taught as a visiting professor at the University of San Francisco, Fordham University, Villanova University, Fairfield University and Marquette University.
Sister Clark taught middle school and high school students at Kenwood Convent of the Sacred Heart in Albany, 1942-45, and 1947-49. She also coached hockey and served as dormitory mistress. She served in a similar capacity at her alma mater, Overbrook School of the Sacred Heart (Philadelphia), 1945-47. She also taught at the Sacred Heart schools in Rochester (1949-51) and New York City (1952-53).
Prior to entering the Society, Sister Clark spent six years as bursar at Villanova College, 1932-36, after which she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart in 1939. She would go on to earn a Master’s Degree and Doctorate from Fordham University. She also did a post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University.
In an introduction at the time Sister Clark was honored with the Cor Unum Award, in 2005, her niece noted that St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, founder of the Society of the Sacred Heart, wrote, “If you knew how much the Society needs Saints Savants, learned Saints, you would hasten to become one. … It is good to lay solid foundations of virtue, but it is only the union of virtue with learning that will give perfection to our work. So unite these two things closely, my daughter, and you will understand the full extent of your vocation.” Sainte Savante, the perfect description of Mary T. Clark, RSCJ!
Sister Clark was a prolific author and editor, publishing numerous articles and nine books, including Augustine, Philosopher of Freedom. A Study in Comparative Philosophy; Logic, A Practical Approach; Discrimination Today; An Aquinas Reader; and The Problem of Freedom.
At the time of her 100th birthday last year, the provincial team of the United States – Canada Province of the Society of the Sacred Heart wrote to her, “Your scholarship, your extensive publications and your tenure in classrooms have ensured your place in academia. Your commitment to justice and fairness and your treatment of those around you have ensured your place in the hearts of thousands of students and colleagues.”
She was a member and past president of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, which awarded her the Aquinas Medal for Eminence in Philosophy in 1988. She was also an active member of the American Philosophical Association; the Metaphysical Society; the Conference of Philosophical Societies; Society for Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy; Society of Christian Philosophers; North American Patristics Society; International Association of Patristic Studies, and the Catholic Commission on Intellectual and Cultural Affairs – among others. She served on numerous advisory and editorial boards.
Her awards and honors were numerous and included honorary degrees from Manhattanville and Villanova University. Others of note are Manhattanville’s Distinguished Alumni Award, Outstanding Educator of America in 1971 and the Interracial Justice Award in 1967.