Someone Like You
"Unless someone like YOU cares a whole, awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." Dr. Seuss
One of the most loved, appreciated, and familiar faces at Bethany is Sister Claire Pfundstein, OP. Since 1989 she has been a valuable advisor who has participated in the continual growth and expansion of Bethany House. In 1990 she joined the Board of Directors and helped organize the framework for the Corporation. One of her major projects was to oversee the creation of the Bylaws. In addition to this, as the years progressed, she evolved as the person who keeps track of our assets, liabilities and projections and gives the Annual Financial Report to the Board of Directors. Over the years, she has chaired several of our Committees and is one of our most enthusiastic volunteers. If you attend any meetings or activities, you will see that we rely on her for her wise judgment and a variety of skills. She is a proofreader extraordinaire and can find any error. After listening carefully, she can see all sides of an issue and summarize the best points. She also has a “sharp wit” that appears quite frequently and keeps us all chuckling as we see the irony is a situation. It was our lucky day when Sister Claire joined our Bethany Family. How did she find us? When you read about her background, you will realize the sources of her expertise and why she and Bethany are so “good together.”
Sister Claire began her career teaching Mathematics and taught in various schools including several years in Puerto Rico. While she was there, she was aware that Sister Aimee was teaching on the other side of the island, but they really weren’t well acquainted at that time. Sister Claire returned to the States and became an Assistant Principal at St. Michael’s School in East New York. After several years, St. Michael’s closed its doors and Sister Claire began a new career in Parish Work. In 1989 she became one of the Regional Directors for the Sisters of St. Dominic and soon discovered that Bethany House was in her region. She came to visit and was quite amazed to find the extent of the work of Bethany and that Sister Aimee [one of the sisters under her care] was deeply immersed in a different ministry which provided shelter and care for homeless women and children. She wanted to know more. Sister Claire said she was “very impressed with Sister Aimee’s enthusiasm for her mission.” This was the beginning of her involvement in Bethany House that has continued for more than twenty years.
As of now, Sister Claire has retired from a full-time ministry, but she is still busy keeping a written commentary of the activities of her local convent for the annals of the History of the Congregation [the Amityville Dominicans], volunteers to translate documents for Spanish-speaking clients in Farmingdale, and still serves Bethany House as a valuable and dedicated member of the Finance/Business Committee, the Executive Committee, and the Board of Directors. Sister Claire says that she misses not being at Bethany as much as in earlier days, but she is still “imbued with its spirit.”
I asked her: what do you expect to happen to Bethany in the next thirty years? She said that “Bethany will continue and will prosper because it is built on a rock. It will continue to expand to meet the needs as it always has.”
Sister Claire helped to build this rock. We are very thankful for all her vital service to Bethany and her care and concern for our moms and little ones. At our Annual Fashion Show and Awards Dinner last year, we honored S. Claire as our Outstanding Woman of Compassion. Surely, there is no one more deserving of this honor! Sister Claire will always be our dear friend and advisor, and we thank her for her gift of her time and talent that has directly influenced Bethany’s growth over these many years. We wish her a long and happy retirement, and are glad that she continues to stay close to all of us at Bethany!