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Sister Clara Vincent, Trinity Hospital's last nun, is leaving Augusta for retirement

Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 11:14 PM
Last updated 11:15 PM
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For 44 years at Trinity Hospital, Sister Clara Vincent bandaged the wounds and let God do the healing.

Sister Clara Vincent is preparing to leave Trinity Hospital after 44 years, the last nun in her order to serve the Catholic facility.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Sister Clara Vincent is preparing to leave Trinity Hospital after 44 years, the last nun in her order to serve the Catholic facility.

A gentle and saintly caregiver, Vincent served countless patients, doctors and families at Augusta’s only faith-based hospital. She leaves this month for retirement at her religious order’s headquarters in St. Louis.

“She’s been doing what she felt was the work of the Lord,” said Dr. Bill Neumann, a physician with close ties to Trinity Hospital, formerly known as St. Joseph Hospital.

As a nurse and then a hospital chaplain, Vincent comforted the sick and dying. She loved popping into the facility’s chapel, administering Holy Communion to Catholic patients and visiting newborn babies. Leaving won’t be easy.

“The employees have become part of my family. It’s so hard to leave – you just have no idea,” said the 85-year-old Catholic nun. “It’s time for me to take care of myself.”

Vincent started at St. Joseph Hospital in 1969, joining about 20 other Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet nuns working in the hospital. She was the last one at the facility.

“I never dreamed I was going to stay here all these years,” she said.

With her departure, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet’s history at the hospital becomes a legacy entrusted to others. The faith-based mission and emphasis on prayer will continue, said Frankie May, the director of pastoral care.

“We continue with extending the work of Christ through health care services,” May said. “What the sisters started here so many years ago, that legacy will continue.”

Vincent was the voice that helped the hospital start each day. Everyone stopped in their tracks at 7:30 a.m. when she led prayer over the facility’s loudspeaker system.

For many, she was also the face at the end of the day. As chaplain, she prayed at the bedside of dying patients and grieved with their families.

The hospital’s chapel, which has been renamed in honor of her, was the quiet place where she often sat with families.

“I think they find a great solace just being in that presence. That to me is very comforting,” the nun said.

Sister Clara Vincent helped carry on the mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph after all the other nuns had left, Neumann said. She was unassuming but a “go-to person” that took care of business. Patients of all faiths asked for her.

“She has always been there and always a part of us,” Neumann said.

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Riverman1 02/08/14 - 05:34 am
Caring Person

She comforted my mother when she had surgery there. She's a very nice and caring person who has spent her life giving to others. I'm not a Catholic, but she's a saint to me.

habersham100 02/08/14 - 06:54 am
Very caring person, Riverman1

Godspeed, Sr. Clara. Thank you.

ctchpln 02/08/14 - 07:41 am
A genuine person

A genuine person, Sr. Clara Vincent is. She will be missed by so many and she will miss so many. Godspeed, Sr. Clara. We love you.

Bulldog 02/08/14 - 09:29 am
What a wonderful lady

I knew her briefly from time I spent at St Joseph's while I was a student at MCG in 1969-1970. I don't think that she has changed much... Still as caring as ever. A true blessing!

Sweet son
Sweet son 02/08/14 - 02:17 pm
I've already posted it once but I will do it again!

Thanks Sister Clara for all that you have done for St. Joe (will always call it that) and our community.

You directly helped my family through a cancer diagnosis and untimely death with your visits of friendship, prayers, hope and encouragement.

We Love You!

Just My Opinion
Just My Opinion 02/08/14 - 08:23 pm
I worked with Sister Clara

I worked with Sister Clara many years ago, and she was everything these folks have said. But she was also quite a card! I will always remember how she would set me straight whenever I would step out of line and try to be funny, and she would give me a pinch on the back of my upper arm (that hurts!) and tell me "You're in trouble, bubble!!"! After awhile she knew I was someone she could bring in to play practical jokes on other people!
Even though it wasn't healthcare, I learned alot from Sister Clara and will always remember her kind heart, her sweet spirit, and her Godly mission. Thank you, Sister!

TrulyWorried 02/09/14 - 12:01 am
Naming the chapel

at "St. Joseph's" now changed to Trinity is a wonderful gesture to thank a very caring and loving Catholic nun. God speed, Sister Clara and may you have a wonderful retirement life in front of you.

Darby 02/09/14 - 11:32 pm
“She’s been doing what she felt was the work

of the Lord,” said Dr. Bill Neumann"

And I'm pretty sure that a lot of folks agree with that assessment.

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