Born to Life
August 16, 1932
June 13, 1950
Born to Eternal Life
December 24, 2020
Mt. Olivet Cemetery
Norma was the third of five children born to Ernest and Grace Schumacher in Hartford, Wisconsin, on August 16, 1932. Norma grew up in Hartford, attended St. Kilian’s School, and was taught by the School Sisters of St. Francis in grades one through eight.
From early on, Norma was interested in music and took piano lessons from Sister Bede. She also had a great love for animals. In 1946, after eighth grade, she felt the call to religious life and joined the School Sisters of St. Francis as an aspirant. Then she attended St. Joseph High School.
Her sister, Joan, followed her to the School Sisters of St. Francis in 1949. She said, “To have a sister in religious life is special. I always looked up to Norma, my big sister. She always challenged me to be better. She loved the outdoors, could make the best “snow people,” and could clean better than I could. She chose music as her life’s ministry and she worked to be the best. Her life was always a challenge to her.”
Norma was received in 1950, receiving the name Sister De Ricci. During these years, she began her music education at Alverno College.
Sister De Ricci was a perfectionist. Whether it was keeping the “rag room” in perfect order or beginning her first violin lesson, she worked with a joyful spirit and great enthusiasm.
In 1952 Sister De Ricci began her teaching years as a musician, organist, and music specialist in schools in Illinois. t was during these years Sister De Ricci changed back to her baptismal name, Norma Clair.
After 50 years of excellent music teaching, she retired in 2003 and then volunteered at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Glenview , where her sister, Sister Ernest (now Sister Joan) was living and teaching. Also during these volunteer years, Sister Norma Clair was able to do her “side job” of house-sitting dogs. Her Franciscan love for animals was the joy of her life. She was very energetic, so to walk the dog was a charm!
Declining health brought Sister Norma Clair to Sacred Heart in Milwaukee in 2016. After a few months here, Sister Norma Clair suffered a stroke and a heart attack. Through months of rehab. she fought her way back. Seizures followed, but Sister Norma Clair still put forth valiant efforts to regain her independence. She challenged her caregivers each day by wanting to be the best at something new. Sister Joan accompanied her with weekly visits and at times was able to bring one of the therapy dogs she cared for.
Some years ago, Sister Norma Clair summed up her life in these words: “I served the community to the best of my ability and am grateful for all the community taught me, and how the sisters trained me to serve others.”
This year Sister Norma Clair celebrated her 70th Jubilee year. We rejoice and thank God with her for these 70 years of faithful Franciscan living. Now, Sister Norma Clair, you see God face to face. Receive the reward of your labors. Peace!