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Sister Mary Hermine Deveau

List of Deceased Sisters

Date of Death 13/05/2016

SMSM SistersSr. Hermine DEVEAU, smsm

(Formerly, Sr. Mary Hermine)

October 20th 1915, – May 13th, 2016


Hermine Deveau was born in 1915, the eldest of ten children, two boys and eight girls, born to Odilon and Laura Lajoie Deveau. Both parents were born on the Cyr Plantation in Van Buren, Maine and raised their children there. Sr. Hermine has written,

“My memories of my childhood are happy ones, with the give and take of growing up in a large family. Perhaps what I learned most from my parents, and have made my own, is a deep spirit of faith. We were a hard working farm family and it was a struggle to survive on one season of crops…

During my teenage years, I was greatly influenced by the Good Shepherd Sisters, the Marist Fathers and a close girlfriend with whom I could share my deepest aspirations. These friendships helped me to confirm my call to be a Marist Missionary Sister at age seventeen.”

Hermine entered the Marist Missionary Sisters in Bedford, Massachusetts on September 8th, 1933. She made her first vows on September 8th, 1936 and then did community service in both Bedford and Boston. She made her perpetual vows four years later (on September 8th) just before departing for the missions on September 17th, 1940. She arrived at Villa Maria, in Sydney, Australia on November 1st, 1940. During the Second World War, it was not possible for the Sisters to travel to their Pacific island destinations, and Sr. Hermine was to remain in Australia for more than five years.

After assisting in the kitchen at Villa Maria in Sydney, Sr. Hermine did her teacher training at Singleton from 1941-43, and received a Certificate for Elementary Teaching. She taught for a year in Sydney, and then went on to Waratah, Australia, where she did a nursing course from 1944-46. As many Sisters were expected to do both teaching and nursing in isolated missions in the Pacific, she was well prepared.

Sister finally arrived in the Solomon Islands in April of 1946, less than a year after the end of the war in the Pacific. Over the next ten years, Sr. Hermine served as both nurse and teacher in Visale, Tangarare, Buma, Rokera, and Wainoni Bay.

In 1956 Sr. Hermine was called back to the USA to participate in the “Second Novitiate” in Framingham, Massachusetts. Afterwards she remained in Framingham, which was then our central house, to do community service. In 1962 she was transferred to Bedford, shortly before our novitiate was relocated from there to Waltham. In Bedford, and later in Waltham (1966-68), Sr. Hermine did community service as well as catechetical work in the local parishes.

In 1968, Sr. Hermine volunteered to go to Holland to be with one of our sisters who was alone there and ill. While there Sr. Hermine served as a nurse assistant at the Winssen Nursing Home.

Returning to the USA in 1971, Sr. Hermine was soon missioned to Hawaii, where our Sisters did the domestic work at St Stephen’s Seminary in Kaneohe.

In 1973 she returned to Massachusetts and began her long association with Maristhill Nursing home. For several years she was a full-time nursing assistant there.

Always ready to give service wherever it was needed, in 1987 Sr. Hermine responded to a request for assistance in Samoa. On hearing of her death, several sisters who knew her during those years wrote to say how much her presence meant to them:

I remember Sr. Hermine at Savalalo… doing her most gracious “hospitality duties” for every one coming to Savalalo: the school children, the parents, priests and sisters from the outer 'stations' in Upolu and from Savaii. Savalalo was the gathering point for all the outside-Apia missionaries doing business in town, where everyone would get a huge welcome from Sr. Hermine. Then she made sure the visitors had food and drink before they headed back to their places either by bus or by boat. (Sr. Vitolia)

…Her age and not knowing or being familiar with the Samoan language and the culture at the time, did not deter her from being who she was, and the service she was rendering to everyone - a joyful presence of a loving simple person, "another Mary" in our midst. …I treasure and value the love, support and friendship that I had with her during her mission here in Samoa. (Sr. Emanuela)

In 1990, Sr. Hermine was back in Waltham at the Grove Street community, and continued as a volunteer at Maristhill, as well as giving community service and volunteering as a Eucharistic minister in the parish.

As her age and infirmities increased, Sr. Hermine moved to the Marillac Residence in Wellesley Hills, in 2005. As long as she was able, she was a regular visitor to the sick in the Elizabeth Seton Residence, the nursing home section next-door. Finally, in October 2014 she returned to Maristhill Nursing Home, where she has served for so long, but this time as a resident. She died there peacefully on the afternoon of May 13th, 2016.

Sister Hermine, you have given us such a wonderful example of a life of constant and gracious service to others “in the spirit of Mary”. May you enter now into the joy of Jesus and Mary, and of all the loved ones who have gone before you.

Gratefully in Mary,                      

Sr. Claire Rheaume smsm                                           Sr. Virginia Fornasa smsm


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