Sister Maria Lourdes Cleto, SP

June 16, 1935 - January 13, 2021


(Sister Maria Lourdes)

Sister Maria Lourdes Cleto, age 85, a Sister of Providence for 59 years, died January 13, 2021, at St. Joseph Residence, Seattle, Wash.  Bonney-Watson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Sister Maria Lourdes Cleto was born in Manila, Philippines on June 16, 1935 to Everarado and Anatalia Cleto with the name Soledad at her birth. She was the youngest of six children.  Sister Maria Lourdes lived her life of giving and sharing love.  She spent her life connecting her energy and talents to give the best of herself to the task at hand, whether in a parochial school classroom, a parish, a Native American reservation, a hospital’s chapel, or as a vocation team member.

In 1960, Sister Maria Lourdes became a postulant of the Sisters of Providence, a novice in 1961, made first profession in 1963 and her final vows in 1968.

A graduate of the College of Great Falls (Mont.) in 1969, Sister Maria Lourdes spent 15 years as a parochial schoolteacher, serving in classrooms in DeSmet, Idaho; Great Falls, Mont.; Spokane; Missoula, Mont.; and Walla Walla, Wash.  She loved teaching the primary grades, especially the five years spent with Native American children from the Coeur d’Alene Tribe on the reservation in DeSmet.  Inspired by her ministry with Native American children, Sister Maria Lourdes ministered on the Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota. She was 10 minutes from Wounded Knee, visiting homes on the reservation. (1976-78).

After enrolling in the chaplaincy program at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, she found her heart’s desire as the only full-time staff member at St. Edward Parish in Seattle (1979).  At St. Edward Parish, she served with Father Joseph Tyson, Pastor, now Bishop Tyson of the Yakima Diocese.  She served there for a total of 24 years.  As a pastoral assistant, she had responsibility for outreach and for the RCIA program, as well as serving as director of St. Vincent de Paul and three Legion of Mary groups.  She found special joy in engaging the parish’s Filipino community. After leaving St. Edward Parish, she became a member of the Sisters of Providence Vocation Team, putting her energies into retreats for college students and other young adults.

Sister Maria Lourdes loved to dance, dance, dance at every opportunity, along with playing piano, seeing movies and going out with friends.

Sister Maria Lourdes is preceded in death by her parents; her brothers: Constancio Cleto, Ernesto Cleto, Alfonso Cleto, and Ricardo Cleto; and her sister Gloria Sual. She is survived by her sisters-in-law Gloria Cleto and Grace Cleto; many loving nieces, nephews, and grandnieces; and the Sisters in her community. 

To view Sr. Maria’s obituary and picture and to sign her memory book, please visit the website for Bonney-Watson Funeral Home at

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Fr. William Heric
Fr. William Heric
1 month ago

I served with Sr. Maria at St. Edward’s Parish in Seattle in the early 1980s. I remember her warmth, kindness and delightful sense of humor. She was a wonderful pastoral minister to so many over the years. Thank you Lord for this faithful servant. Blessings of peace and rest dear sister!

Jennifer Roseman
Jennifer Roseman
1 month ago

Sr. Maria had such a gracious and generous heart. I will miss her smile and her sense of humor. God bless.

Lisa M Ursino
Lisa M Ursino
1 month ago

I worked with Sr. Maria at St. Edward’s Parish. What a joy she was! She was so authentic and a firecracker! People were drawn to her enthusiasm on whatever project she was involved in or mission she led. Her smile was definitely contagious. She used every Gift that God gave her. Well done, faithful servant!!