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Sister Therese LaPointe (formerly known as Sister Mary DeLourdes)

List of deceased Sisters

Date of death 12/03/2020

SMSM SistersSr. Therese LAPOINTE smsm

November 28th, 1925 – March 12th, 2020

 

Therese Marie LAPOINTE was born in Salem, Massachusetts, one of five children of Alfred Philippe Lapointe, from Van Buren Maine and his wife Marie Helen Pelletier, from Madawaska, Maine.  After high school in Methuen, Therese worked in an office for eight years before she asked to enter the Marist Missionary Sisters.  She became a postulant in Lowell MA on February 11th, 1952 at the age of 27. She made her novitiate in Bedford, taking the name, “Sr. Mary De Lourdes” and she pronounced her first vows on August 15th, 1954.  After profession she was assigned to the house in Lowell, where she did four years of community service.

In 1958 Therese was sent to (what was then) our central house in Framingham and began four years of studies at the Sacred Heart College in Newton, where she obtained her BA in Education.  On August 15th, 1960, while still a student, she made her perpetual vows.

Finally, in 1962, Therese received her mission destination and was sent to Bougainville, PNG, which was then known as the North Solomons. She began teaching at the high school at Asitavi. Her gifts for teaching and for leadership were recognized during those first few years, and in 1966 she became the Head Teacher at the Teacher Training College and the local superior of the SMSM community.

By 1969, the small teacher’s college at Asitavi was closed and amalgamated with Kabaleo college on the island of East New Britain.  Sr Therese and another Sister were sent there to teach.  But little more than a year later, Therese was appointed the Regional Superior for the SMSM and had to return to Bougainville Island and reside at Tubiana.

In 1974, after 12 years overseas, Sister Therese returned to the USA for her home leave and Long-Term Spiritual Renewal.  After some time of transition, she was ready for a new challenge.  She was transferred to the North American Province and was missioned to Peru in 1976. After a time in Lima for orientation and language learning, she was assigned to Tamshiyacu, a house near the Amazon River that served as a base community for those Sisters who were travelling by river boat to minister to people in villages along the way.  After some time, she returned to Lima where she was involved in catechetical ministry.

In 1980 Therese returned to the USA, and over the next 6 years served in various leadership roles in the community at “62” – sometimes as Superior and other times as the House Manager.  She also served during some of those years as Assistant Provincial and Secretary for Sr. Elizabeth Bonia.

Finally, in 1987, Therese began a new ministry that she would continue for the next 23 years: receptionist at Maristhill Nursing Home.  She had a desk near the front door of the Home and was a welcoming presence there.  In 2006, she wrote the following about this ministry:

“For the past 18 years I have been receptionist at Maristhill Nursing Home in Waltham, Massachusetts.  I have been involved in a variety of duties in this position as well, but the most important of all was and is the opportunity I have had to listen to and talk with the family members of our residents.  I have found that many family members are under stress with guilt feelings, because they can no longer care for their loved ones at home.  A word of encouragement, being compassionate, and having a listening, understanding and supportive presence, hopefully has done a lot to ease their aching hearts.  The Scripture saying, ‘Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do to me,’ (Mt 25,40) gives me a sense of joy that I can continue to serve My Lord and God in this way.”

Sr Therese was a woman of faith, of joy, and real dedication to the service of others. During the four years from 2005-2008, she spent her annual 2-week vacation from Maristhill volunteering at the Marist Brothers’ Summer Camp for boys in New Hampshire.

By 2011 her memory was beginning to fail, and she had to retire from Maristhill.  The staff there gave her a beautiful farewell party.  In September of that year she moved to the Assisted Living at Bethany Health Care in Framingham, with Srs Rufina and Lucille.  She came back to Maristhill several times to visit her brother, Brother Leo, who was a resident there, and she was there for his funeral in August 2013.

In the last few years of her life there were times of physical suffering and mental anguish, as in the life of Jesus, and in the life of her patron, Therese of Lisieux.She was a worthy follower of that great saint – a loving and joyful woman living out the missionary work that Therese of Lisieux had wished that she could do. 

For all those who knew Therese, she is one who will come to mind whenever we think of a Sister who was truly

“.... joyfully given to God
for the Kingdom
in the Spirit of Mary.” (SMSM Constitutions #23)

Gratefully in Mary,            

Sister Helen Muller, smsm                                                      Sister Virginia Fornasa, smsm

Regional Leader                                                                     Communications Secretary