Sisters depart St. Francis de Sales

St. Francis de Sales Parish will see the end of an era when its last two sisters of St. Joseph will leave its convent this summer.

Sister Rita Moriarty, 70, and Sister Eleanor O’Hearn, 79, will move out of the parish’s convent at 300 S. Sherman St. and onto retirement in July.

Their departure will mark the end of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet more than 100-year legacy at the church and school. More than 300 sisters have come to St. Francis de Sales school and parish since 1906 to educate students and provide spiritual guidance to families in the community. At its height in the 1950s and 60s, 28 sisters in the order taught 650 grade-schoolers and 750 high-schoolers, earning it the reputation of one of the best high schools in the city before it closed in 1973.

Longtime parishioner Alice Studer, 71, said the parish’s families are appreciative of the sisters’ dedication to the community.

“Their unselfish dedication to the Church and their fellow man for all these years has produced many great minds and influential people and, most of all, many vocations for our Church,” Studer said.

Sister O’Hearn retired two years ago when Sister Mary Rose Lieb, O.S.F., succeeded her as principal of the grade school. She will move out of the convent with Sister Moriarty, who will retire as pastoral associate at the parish July 1, into an apartment at Heather Gardens.

“I look forward to moving to Heather Gardens because I think it’ll be a whole new ministry,” Sister O’Hearn said.

Sister Moriarty said she, too, is excited about entering the next phase of her life.

“I spent 38 years here,” Sister Moriarty said. “There’s been a lot of births, marriages, confirmations and death. You’re part of a community. I know I will miss that. But nothing lasts forever.”

The parish staff relocated to the first floor of the convent and the sisters lived on the second floor.

Once the sisters move into their apartment, Father Kenneth Liuzzi said the parish will consider options on how to use the convent.

“We’re exploring opportunities to see what direction we want to go,” he said. “I think when we keep growing the need will become apparent.”


Celebrate the Sisters of St. Joseph Carondelet
When: 10:30 a.m. Mass June 22
What: Mass followed by a reception in the gym
Where: St. Francis de Sales Church, 300 S. Sherman St., Denver
Info: call 303-744-7211

COMING UP: Team Samaritan cyclist goes ‘Everesting’ for the homeless and hungry

Sign up for a digital subscription to Denver Catholic!

When it comes to the daily sufferings of those who are homeless, there’s nothing like a 29,029-foot bike ride to keep things in perspective.

That’s exactly what Corbin Clement will be doing this Saturday, June 19, with a couple of his riding buddies as they attempt an “Everesting” ride to raise money for the Samaritan House homeless shelter in Denver. Starting at Witter Gulch Road in Evergreen, the three riders will climb Squaw Pass Road to a point in Clear Creek County and ride back down the hill for over eight laps, which amounts to roughly 190 miles in distance and the equivalent of the elevation of Mt. Everest in terms of vertical climbing – hence the name “Everesting.” Their goal is to complete the feat in 20 hours or less.

Oh, and they can’t sleep. It is, indeed, just as crazy as it sounds. Those who aren’t avid cyclists might be wondering, “How in the world do you train for something like this?” 
“For training, it’s been just more or less ride as much as possible,” Clement told the Denver Catholic. “The training is structured around endurance, and that’s of course what Everesting is. It’s just a lot of peddling. So, a lot of my training so far has just been trying to ride as much as possible and ride longer high elevation rides.” 

In March, an Irish cyclist set the world record for Everesting when he completed the feat in six hours and 40 minutes. Clement isn’t trying to set a record, but regardless, it’s quite a feat to undertake, even for a seasoned athlete like him, whose pedigree includes snowboarding and rock climbing. 

“Our ride will be the same thing, but it’ll be pretty different,” Clement said. “We don’t have any sort of special bikes or super focused diet or a really regimented plan or a crew that’s very well-instructed on how we’re going to tackle this. I’ve read a couple of things to just kind of make it into a party — have friends come out to support you, get people to join you on certain laps…that’s kind of the approach we’re taking.” 

Clement has already raised $5,200 for Samaritan House, with a current goal of $8,000. This is Clement’s first year riding for Team Samaritan, but his dad, Kevin, has ridden for the team for several years. When his dad offered to give him an extra kit and uniform, Clement accepted, but didn’t want to take it without doing something help the cause. He could’ve simply opted for a nice ride in the countryside, but he chose to do something a bit more challenging.  

Corbin Clement used to experience the challenges that homeless people face on a daily basis when commuting through downtown Denver to work on his bike. This Saturday, he will raise money for Samaritan House homeless shelter by “Everesting,” a 190-mile bike ride that is the equivalent of the elevation of Mt. Everest in terms of vertical climbing. (Photo provided)

“For some reason, the Everesting idea popped into my head,” he explained. “I think it’s one of those things that has a little bit of shock value for people who hear about it. It’s certainly something that’s gained more popularity and visibility in the last couple of years with endurance athletes. I wanted to choose something that would actually be a challenge for myself and something that I’d have to work towards.” 

Clement currently resides in Utah, but he used to live in Denver and commute by bike to work every day. During those rides to his office, which was located near Samaritan House, he would pass many homeless people and have conversations with them. This experience was also a motivating factor for his Everesting attempt for Team Samaritan. 

“It’s very different when you’re on a bike versus in a car because you’re right there,” Clement said. “If you stop at a stoplight and a homeless person is on the corner, whether or not they’re panhandling or something like that, you hear the conversations, or you’ll have a conversation with them. There are things you smell or you hear or you see that you just never would if you were in a car. So, it kind of made sense, too, with the biking aspect. It’s part of my community that I’ve lived and worked in for a very long time.” 

Clement’s Everesting attempt is one event in a series of endurance event’s he’s doing over the summer that culminates with the Leadville 100, a single-day mountain bike race across the Colorado Rockies. In that race, he will be riding to support young adults diagnosed with cancer by raising funds for First Descents.  

Both causes are near to Clement’s heart, and he said that while his Everesting attempt will be a form of “suffering,” it pales in comparison to what the homeless face day in and day out. This is ultimately why he’s riding and raising funds for Team Samaritan. 

“Any time we see a homeless person or people who have to live on the streets,” Clement said, “That is true suffering — true endurance — with no end in sight.” 

To learn more about Corbin’s fundraising efforts or to donate, click here.