Sister Rita (Sister St. Clare Maureen) CND Clare was the eldest child of Donald and Mayme (Briand) Clare and grew up in Sydney, N.S.. She showed an interest in music from a young age and took private piano lessons as a child. Sister Rita continued her musical education while attending St. Joseph's School and then Holy Angels High where she was a choir member under the direction of Sister Mary Frederick. After her studies at St. Francis Xavier University, Sr. Rita received her diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music. Between 1965 and 1969, she also received a BSc in Music and Music Education and MA in Music and Music Education from Columbia University. She continued her studies in voice and music at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, the Saratoga Potsdam Choral Institute, New York, and the Voice Care Network, Collegeville, Minnesota.
She entered the Congregation in Montreal in 1952, returning to the Maritimes following her profession. She served in Mabou, Inverness, Antigonish, Newcastle, NB and Holy Angels Convent, Sydney. As a member of the Congregation of Notre-Dame (CND), Sister Rita Clare dedicated her life to service in the form of education and arts promotion and advocacy. For most of her professional career, she was an outstanding educator and administrator in Music and Fine Arts with the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board. Sr. Rita Clare is well-known for her role as director of the Holy Angels Chorale, Cape Breton Youth Choir and was founder and director of the Cape Breton Chorale. Under her leadership, the Cape Breton Chorale has been recognized nationally and internationally for its artistic excellence.
In 1972, Sr. Rita was named Woman of the Year by the Professional Women's Club of Sydney and in 1985 she was made an honorary citizen of Sydney. A few years later, she was recognized by the Province of Nova Scotia for her work during the Canada Games and in 1991, Sr. Rita Clare was awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters Honoris Causa from the University College of Cape Breton (now Cape Breton University). This honourary degree identified Sr. Rita as a "leader in the Arts in Cape Breton and a foremost promoter of music education in Nova Scotia." Through the years, Sister Rita Clare has been recognized by various levels of government for her commitment to excellence and the cultural life of her community. In 2005, Sister Rita Clare was presented with the Jubilate Award of Merit presented by the Canadian Music Educators Association in recognition of significant contribution to Music Education in Canada.
Sister Rita Clare died May 30, 2017 in Sydney, Nova Scotia.