Sister Mary Henry (Claire Marie) Williges

sister mary henry williges
Sister Mary Henry Williges, OP, died peacefully at the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose Motherhouse in Fremont, CA on May 18, 2016. A native of San Francisco, she entered the world on September 6, 1925, one of four children born to John Henry and Marie Delwisch Williges. She was baptized Claire Marie Theresa on September 20, 1925 in St. Anthony's Church. After graduating from Immaculate Conception Academy in the Mission District, she worked for six years before entering the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose in 1943. Sister Mary Henry was a gifted teacher, ministering in the primary grades from 1948 through 1966 in Southern California and the Bay Area. During the following 16 years the boys at St. Vincent School for Boys in San Rafael were the objects of her love and labors. There she spent her energies inspiring often reluctant learners with a love of discovery and problem solving in the field of science. Her love of teaching led her to develop and teach after school courses for science instructors in San Francisco and to author a book entitled, Teaching Science on a Shoestring Budget. In 1982 Sister Mary Henry was assigned to the Motherhouse where she continued to act as a Science Consultant and simultaneously developed a craft department from which she produced ceramics for sale at the Dominican Sisters' Holiday Boutique. During this period she engaged the frail, elderly Sisters of St. Martin's Community in producing boutique items for their own booth. Sister's creativity developed projects that every sister could contribute to, no matter her limitations. In 2008, as her own health began to decline and she became a member of St. Martin's community her joyful, self-giving, awe-filled spirit continued to bless those with whom she lived as well as those who cared for her. Mass of Resurrection was celebrated in the Dominican Sisters' Chapel in Fremont on Tuesday, May 24, 2016 at 5:15 PM with internment on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 8:30 AM in God's Acre at the Motherhouse. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Vision of Hope, the Dominican Sisters' Foundation for the support of inner city schools, at 1555 34th Ave, Oakland, CA 94601.

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Memories Timeline


  1. “Safe Home” to my beloved 1st grade teacher at St. James in ’63-’64. A beautiful person full of goodness, joy, love and laughter, even in the face of life’s hardships which she bore so courageously in her later years. Thank you Sister for a life of faithful witness to Our Lord and dedicated service to your students whose lives and hearts you touched in the ministry of Catholic education, as well as the many others who were blessed to have known you. May you BE in the Peace of the Risen Christ at long last.

    Condolences to the family members.

  2. Sister Mary Henry was my first great teacher for two years I didn’t see your because I spent many months in the hospital with asthma all my second try for first grade she was also my teacher she called me brown eyes. I live my life now by her wonderful teaching one day I was talking to sister Mary Henry and I told her that someday I would love to have a big house in a nice car and she told me no you don’t and I said sister yes I do want that and she said no you don’t and I asked her why and this is what I live by she said to me a lot of times people will step over people to get what they want here on Earth and they live all their lives trying to get a big house and nice car and I said sister what’s wrong with that she said you don’t want that brown eyes I said why cuz you want your Castle in heaven not here on Earth and I asked her how do I get my castle in heaven and sister Mary Henry told me every time you help someone it adds another brick it’s your Castle in the heaven and your Castle in heaven it’s forever I’m now 62 years old and I have lived my life on that one less than she taught me when I was six and seven years old I miss her so much and I know she’s in heaven I know she’s there

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