Spanish | French
Home > Deceased Sisters > Sœur Marie Josèphe Batard - Date of Death 12/03/2022



Latest updates






More pictures

Sœur Marie Josèphe Batard

List of Deceased Sisters

Date of Death 12/03/2022


Birth : 07 June 1927

Profession : 09 March 1959

Death : 12 March 2022

Sister Marie Josèphe was born in Maisdon-sur-Sèvres, Loire Atlantique, France on 7 June 1927, the second of the 7 children (2 sons and 5 daughters) of Joseph Batard and Marie Madeleine Dugast. When she was about 8 years of age, she suffered an attack of meningitis which was so severe that it should have been fatal. The family placed its complete trust in St Thérèse of the Child Jesus, who had been canonized 10 years earlier. It was a relic of St Thérèse, given by friends, which got the better of this illness and saved her. Marie Josèphe had always kept this relic, which she was very attached to, on her person. Unfortunately, she lost it during her travels in the islands, but her trust in St Thérèse was never lost.

Shecame from a Christian family which gave two of its children to Religious life: Denise, then Marie Josèphe, both entered the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary. It was on 9 March 1959 that Marie Josèphe, along with seven companions, made her first profession at Ste Foy-les-Lyon. A teacher first of all in her home diocese, she would be one throughout her missionary life for a year in Algeria and then in Vanuatu where she was sent in 1961.

Only the Lord knows what Marie Josèphe lived through during her 40 years (1961- 2001) on these islands of the New Hebrides. From Port-Vila to Baie-Barrier via Vao, Wallarano, Montmartre, Joan of Arc School in Port-Vila, Mallicolo, Santo, Tanna, Fanafo… Marie Josèphe gave all her energy and skills to the primary schools on these islands as a teacher, headmistress and community superior. Her pedagogical training at CEFOREP (Catholic Training College in Noumea) in 1981 helped her be effective at educating the children, especially their Christian formation. Her fighting spirit allowed her to overcome the difficulties of an often-raging sea at Baie-Barrier, as also the tracks, ‘up and down like cascades,’ around the Tanna volcano on the way to Imaki.

It was at Baie-Barrier, during her perpetual profession on 9 March 1965, that she made the life-long gift of herself to the Lord. Endowed with an iron constitution, she was not afraid to walk for hours in the mountains in order to go to villages to catechize children, visit the sick and elderly… Even before Pope Francis asked for this, she experienced mission on the margins in the most isolated parts of these islands.

In 1974, when she returned to France for the first time, she was asked to give community service at Ste Foy. Several times she would experience the joy of seeing her family again, namely in 1980, 1986, 1992 and 2006. Sister Marie Josèphe was very close to her brothers and sisters, her nephews and nieces. Even today it is a very close-knit family, where members communicate a great deal with one-another.

Other services were asked of Sister Marie Josèphe in Vanuatu. She was in charge of the boarding school at St Michel on Santo for several years, as well being the regional bursar in 1997 and the person in charge of the Procure. She made herself available for whatever was asked of her. She was generous, helpful and loved by the people she mixed with.

In 1997 on 29 July, Vanuatu’s anniversary of independence, she had the honour of receiving from the President of the Republic himself Vanuatu’s National Order of Merit, along with his personal congratulations. This was an award she would not talk about, being a very discreet person who spoke very little about herself.

Much to her regret, just 20 years ago in 2002, Marie Josèphe was obliged to leave Vanuatu, because of her defective eyesight; in fact she suffered from age-related macular degeneration. Despite the medical care received in New Caledonia, she lost at least 80% of her sight. She was called upon to render service at La Foa, the Centre for Hospitality at Mont-Mou, the Ile des Pins community... In spite of her handicap, she didn’t hesitate to get involved with the Catholic Aid group at La Foa, or to take communion to elderly people in their homes.

In 2015 she joined the Nazareth community at Mont-Mou for a time of rest. However, in October 2016 she had a fall in her room during the night, which resulted in a fractured pelvis. She was hospitalized in Noumea. Unfortunately, nothing could be done to resolve the problem and 10 days later she returned to the Nazareth community. She became 100% dependent on others. A time of immense psychological suffering; she could no longer express herself and remained bedridden. With the help of the nurses, physiotherapists and sisters in the community, she managed to regain some mobility and an almost normal community life.

Nevertheless, over time we saw her condition deteriorate. She could scarcely see at all, had difficulty hearing and moved from bed to chair with assistance. What’s more, she only spoke a few words. She could no longer feed herself. On 12 January this year, she suffered a small stroke, was hospitalized for a day and a night, received the Sacrament of the Sick, and then returned to the community. From that day onwards she was bedridden, little by little she would be stripped of everything. For two months, she was at the mercy of those who cared for her, accepting this dependence without ever uttering a word of complaint or rejection. The care and loving attention of those assisting helped her carry her cross until the final day. What a lot of love is poured out in this humble, hidden, yet so very precious service. During the last week we no longer left her side day or night, and we prayed insistently that the Lord would come and deliver her.  On Saturday evening, 12 March 2022, her breathing became irregular, and surrounded by her sister, Donatienne, and several Sisters, she passed on from this world to a well-deserved better life.

In sickness and old age we receive the peace, strength and forgiveness He offers in the Sacrament of the sick, accepting to be united with Him in His passion before entering with Him into eternal joy.” (Const. No. 130)

Thank you, Marie Josèphe, for your life entirely given as a missionary disciple in the New Hebrides, but also for the way of the cross you trod, in Christ’s footsteps, here at Nazareth. May your example inspire people to give their lives at the service of the Church.

Sister Marie Ida smsm