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Mary Juliana Roper

List of deceased Sisters

Date of death 23/10/2013

August 20th 1919 - October 23rd 2013

Florabelle Marie Roper was born in Algiers, Louisiana, in the diocese of New Orleans, in August 1919, one of eight children of Emilienne Froisy and Henry Roper.

She completed high school in New Orleans, and after a few years entered the Marist Missionary Sisters in Bedford, Massachusetts on August 2nd 1941. As a novice, she took the name “Sr Mary Juliana”. She made her first vows on February 2nd 1944, and shortly after was sent to a Teachers College in Portland, Maine and then to Rivier College in Nashua, New Hampshire.

In January 1948, Sr Mary Juliana was missioned to Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, where she was to serve for the next 40 years. For more than 20 years she taught at various schools in Tunuru, Sovele, and Turiboiru. In 1968 she became a supervisor of teachers, based in Tubiana. After 1970 she began to do Social Work with the women in Sovele, Tearouki and Torokina. From 1978 she devoted herself to catechetics in Tubiana and later taught new converts in Tunuru.

In 1988 Sr Juliana left Bougainville for the nearby Solomon Islands. In Honiara she did catechetical work and community service. Later, at Tenaru, she taught at St Joseph’s School.

In 1990 Sr Juliana participated in a Spiritual Renewal Program at Marcellin Hall in New Zealand. Then, after a visit to family and friends in Louisiana, she was once again ready to set out for a new mission – this time to American Samoa, where she helped with catechetics and community service in Lepua during 1992.

Poor health brought Sr Juliana back to the USA in 1993 and she then transferred to the North American Province. By the end of the year she had recovered well enough to once more set out for new place – this time Memphis, Tennessee, where she lived in the Auburndale community and continued her dedication to education by volunteering at the public library. She “retired” from library work in 2001, but continued to volunteer in the parish as Eucharistic minister, teaching CCD and helping at a soup kitchen.

Sr Mary Juliana left Memphis in October 2006, and came to live at the Newton St community in Massachusetts, as she was finding walking more difficult because of a knee injury. The following year she moved to the Marillac Residence in Wellesley Hills, and finally to the nursing home, Elizabeth Seton Residence, as her health began to fail. There she died early on the morning of October 23rd 2013.

Sister’s remaining siblings, in Louisiana, were unable to travel to Massachusetts because of ill health, but at the funeral the family was represented by one nephew who lives in the Boston area and was able to visit her during her last illness.

Sr Mary Juliana is remembered as a gracious, generous, joyful woman. Perhaps her most outstanding quality was that of gratitude. Even in her last days, Juliana welcomed visitors with joy and expressed thanks for any little service done for her. If “gratefulness is the heart of prayer”, Juliana’s whole life had become a prayer.

We, your Sisters, family and friends – as well as your many students and others you influenced in different parts of the world – are grateful to you, Juliana, for the gift of your life, your love and your service to so many over so many years.

May you enter into the joy of the kingdom, welcomed by Jesus and Mary and by the many who have gone before you and discovered what “no eye has seen, no ear has heard and no mind imagined – what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1Cor 2:9)

In Mary’s Name,

Sr Claire Rheaume smsm
Mission District Leader, North America
Sr Virginia Fornasa smsm Secretary