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Sister Mary Rosanne

List of deceased Sisters

Date of death 18/11/2015

Sister Mary Rosanne  (Therese Desrosiers)         23 March 1925 - 18 November 2015

SMSM Sisters

Therese Desrosiers was born on March 23rd 1925 in Lawrence, Massachusetts. She was one of ten children born to Elzear J. Desrosiers and Marie Rosanne Plourde Desrosiers, both of whom were born in Canada. Her one surviving sibling is Sister M. Consolata of Jesus, a Carmelite Sister living in Buffalo, New York.

Therese entered the novitiate of the Marist Missionary Sisters in Bedford, Massachusetts on July 31st, 1946, and took the name “Sister Mary Rosanne” when she was received as a novice. She made her first vows on February 2nd, 1949. She stayed on at the novitiate for some time, teaching the novices to sew until, in 1951, she received her mission destination: Samoa.

Samoa became the place she loved most in this world. She learned the language and loved the people. During her first five years there she taught in Savalalo, in Safotulafai and in Lepua. From 1956 to 1959 she was asked to assist at the Novitiate in Moamoa. In 1960, after a time in New Zealand for medical care, she returned to teaching in Savalalo.

Like many of our Sisters who had set out for “the missions” without formal teacher education, Sr. Mary Rosanne was called to New Zealand in 1962 to do her teacher training at Loreto Hall. After completing the two-year course, she returned to teaching at Savalalo.

After returning to the USA for her “Second Novitiate” in 1965, Sister was asked to join the Novitiate staff in Heretaunga, New Zealand. Some of those who were novices at that time wrote to tell us how fondly they remember Sr. Mary Rosanne. One wrote that Rosanne’s hair was already white and that even then she suffered from deafness, but that she wasa lovely person, gentle, simple and caring.”Another Sister wrote that “ Her smile was always radiant and her laugh infectious. She seemed to carry the cross of deafness lightly and I never heard her complain.”

After serving at the New Zealand Novitiate for seven years, Sr. Rosanne returned once more to her beloved Samoa. This time she went to Leone, in American Samoa, as a teacher and local superior.

Sr. Rosanne was always a person who responded generously to the needs of the congregation. After her home visit to the USA in 1973, she was asked to stay on to serve as the Provincial Financial Administrator, which she did for the next 10 years. She had first studied accounting in New Zealand while she was on the Novitiate staff. Now she did more courses in Accounting by correspondence from LaSalle University. The 1970’s were turbulent times in our congregation, as in many, and Sr. Rosanne would have met many challenges in adapting to changes in the administrative structures of the Province as well as implementing the decision to enroll the Sisters in Social Security that had been taken in 1972.

Finally from 1984 to 1988, Sr. Rosanne had one more opportunity to return to Samoa. She lived in Savalalo and served as the Regional Financial Administrator and Regional Councilor. She also supervised the building of the new convent at St Mary’s College in Vaimoso – a work for which many Sisters have expressed appreciation.

In fact we were very grateful to receive so many messages of appreciation from the Sisters in Samoa and elsewhere, who knew Rosanne during her years of service in Samoa. She is described as “a woman of simple faith, joy, resourcefulness, generosity and great common sense”. One Sister described how Sr. Rosanne taught her to be sensitive to the needs of the Sisters when in a role of responsibility, not to just wait for them to ask for necessities, but to notice and to offer. These remembrances were a great gift to those of us who only got to know her in her later years, especially her many grand nieces and nephews who came for her funeral.

Sister Mary Rosanne transferred to the North American Province in 1989 and served again as the Provincial Financial Administrator for another ten years. She handed over that responsibility to Sr. Shirley Foust in 2000, but continued to help in the Finance Office as “Benefits Administrator”, i.e. helping many Sisters who had recently returned from overseas or who had reached “retirement” age to claim their Social Security, Medicare and Supplemental Income benefits, as well as managing insurance payments for younger Sisters. Sr. Shirley mentioned that Rosanne was the only one she ever knew who didn’t mind going to the Social Security Office…she’d been there so often that she knew everyone there, and they greeted her as a friend.

From about 2005 Sr. Rosanne’s health began to deteriorate. In 2007 she retired from her work at the Finance Office, and in 2008 she was admitted to St Patrick’s Manor. We know these last years were not easy ones for Sr. Rosanne. For someone as sociable as she was, both her deafness and her illness were a constant cross. Still she greeted visitors with a smile. Even when communication was difficult, she always thanked you for visiting. Her family members showed a lot of support by visiting and sometimes taking her out for an outing.

One Sister wrote that she imagined Rosanne “joyfully greeting the Lord and Mary and all her loved ones of family and friends as she trips around heaven”. It’s a wonderful image – Mary Rosanne, free of all the physical burdens that weighed her down in this life, dancing in the “joy of the Lord.”

You have shown us a sure path in this life, Rosanne, of a generous and grateful response to God’s call. Please pray for your Sisters, family and friends that we may follow faithfully in your footsteps.

In Mary,

Sr. Claire Rheaume smsm                                                                   Sr Virginia Fornasa smsm

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