Obituary of Sr. Mary Claude Ruehl, RSM
Sister Mary Claude Ruehl, RSM (Elizabeth Ruehl) died Saturday, June 10, 2023, at Saint Peter’s Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Albany. Born in Albany, NY, she was the daughter of the late Carl G. Ruehl and Catherine Hagan Ruehl. She had been a Sister of Mercy for 72 years. Sister earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the College of St. Rose, Albany. Her first ministry was teaching. Sister Claude pushed students to live up to their potential. She taught at St. Agnes, Cohoes; St. Mary’s, Clinton Heights; St. Patrick’s, Johnstown; St. Paul’s, Troy; Sacred Heart of Mary, Watervliet and St. John’s, Rensselaer, where she served as principal for three years.
After working in the infirmary of the Convent of Mercy for a few years, Claude became a familiar and beloved presence on the 4th floor of St. Peter’s Hospital. Everyone at SPH…..visitors, nurses, doctors, patients, workmen…. knew Sister Claude. As the ward clerk on 4 Gabrilove, she was an integral part of the care team and the first person family members met when entering the unit. When the halls of the rehab unit echoed with laughter, the source was often Sister Claude. When patients or visitors needed a supportive presence, they could count on Sister Claude to be there for them. She was a “Mercy presence” to patients, families and staff. Sister “kept her cool” during emergencies. She even became reasonably competent at deciphering the handwriting of doctors, although every now and then, in the interest of accuracy, she had to call for help.
Sister Claude was a history buff, with particular interest in the Civil War. In her spare moments, she might be found devouring a tome on the topic. She never outgrew her childhood delight in snow or her love of all animals, especially cats; she lavished attention on her favorite feline, Tigger.
In 2004, Sister Claude transitioned to a ministry of prayer and presence at the Convent of Mercy. When she was no longer able to live independently, she became a resident at St. Peter’s Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, where she died Saturday.
Sister Claude was predeceased by her parents and her sister, Mary Schweigert. She is survived by her nieces Linda Gresoi of Warnersville, PA; Theresa Whelan of St.Augustine, FL.; and her brother-in-law, John Schweigert, of Hamburg, PA; several nieces, nephews and cousins, as well as by her religious community, the Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Associates. The reception of Sister Claude’s body will be at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, June 15, at the chapel of the Convent of Mercy, 634 New Scotland Avenue, Albany. A Service of Remembrance will be held at 4:00 p.m. The wake will continue until 7:00 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. Friday, June 16, followed by interment in the Sisters of Mercy plot in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, East Greenbush. The Sisters of Mercy are grateful to the caregivers at the Convent of Mercy, Albany, and St. Peter’s Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for the great tenderness with which they cared for our Sister. Contributions may be made in Sister Claude’s memory to the Sisters of Mercy, 634 New Scotland Avenue, Albany, New York 12208.
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