Eulogy for Sister Lucienne Savoie, Nov. 16, 1920-Jan. 9, 2015

January 11, 2015 by

Sister Lucienne Savoie

Sister Lucienne Savoie

VIGIL: Jan. 11, 2015, at the Nazareth Motherhouse
EULOGIST: Sister Mary Savoie

My sister, Sister Lucienne Savoie, gave me this short script many years ago and said that I may want to use it at the time of her death. She named it, “In the Tree of Life and in the Plan of God, Our Roots are forever intertwined.”

Now is that time and I want to share it with all of you, because I feel that it not only applies to me but to all gathered here tonight:

With my last breath the one you love and who loves you does not say goodbye,
For our love for each other is timeless and our roots are intertwined.
Instead, I leave you a solemn promise, that when I am finally at rest in God,
I will continue to be present to you whenever I am remembered or called upon for help.
Fear not, dear ones, nor grieve not for I have greatly loved you,
And in God’s plan our roots are forever intertwined.

Mary Florence Savoie was born Nov. 16, 1920, on a farm in Drysburg, Mich., of Canadian-born parents, Edmond and Lucienne Savoie. She was the fourth of 11 children, nine brothers (August, Homer, Leo, Henry, Phillip, Clement, Alfred, Ronald and Peter) and one sister (Mary Leona). Her mother died in 1971 at the age of 77 and her father died in 1992 at the age of 97. Seven of her brothers have preceded her in death. Clement, Peter and Mary remain to carry on the family tradition. Clement is currently in a nursing home in St. Ignace, Michigan; Peter lives in Naples, Fla.

At the age of 16, on Feb. 14, 1937, Mary Florence made the long trip by train to the Nazareth Convent in Concordia, Kan., to request admission. She said she was influenced to become a Sister of St. Joseph by her dad’s two sisters, Sisters Alberta and Alberta Marie. Mary Florence entered the novitiate on Aug. 15, 1937, and received the name of Sister Lucienne. She took first vows on Aug. 15, 1938, and final vows on Nov. 15, 1941.

Sister Lucienne’s active ministry of nursing began in 1941 after receiving her nursing diploma. For the next 18 years she ministered as a registered nurse at night and day-time supervisor of the obstetrical unit at St. John Hospital in Salina, Kan. She often said that she lost count of the number of babies she delivered when the doctor did not make it on time.

In 1960 Sister Lucienne received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Marymount College in Salina and in 1961 a master’s degree in nursing from Boston University. From 1962 to 1972, she served as a professor of obstetrical nursing and supervisor of obstetrical clinical practice for students enrolled in the Marymount College School of Nursing, Salina.

For the next 30 years, Sister Lucienne ministered in Texas and New Mexico: From 1973 to 1975 as geriatric medical and surgical supervisor at St. Joseph Hospital in El Paso, Texas; from 1976 to 1986 as a parish minister in Silver City, N.M.; and from 1987 to 2003 as associate chaplain at the County Medical Hospital and as home pastoral visitation minister within her local Catholic parish in Las Cruces, N.M.

She wrote this about her last years of ministry in New Mexico: “I claim these years of ministry among the people of Las Cruces as a very graced time of person growth.”

Sister Lucienne, at the age of 82, moved to our Motherhouse in Concordia. At the time of this move from Las Cruces, she wrote in her commitment statement: “In my awareness of this graced-filled opportunity offered to me at this stage of physical diminishment, my call is to continue to sanctify every minute by prayerful communion with God and His constant presence. Being conscious that God is always present is my responsibility. This is what gives me the strength to live out the remaining days of my life at the Motherhouse with a constant attitude of gratitude, to become ever more aware and conscious of surrendering my yes as Mary did and do it in cordial charity as St. Joseph did.”

As many of you know Sister Lucienne continued her ministry to people in Las Cruces after moving to the Motherhouse. This she did primarily through her daily correspondence with them. She often said: “My ministry now is through correspondence and phone calls. I find that the gift of enduring friendships through 30 years of ministry in New Mexico continues. I communicate hope, encouragement and support in their trials; my prayers offer spiritual assistance during their need; I offer hope during their struggles and they are remembered daily in my prayers. This is all part of my serving the dear neighbor without distinction.”

An interesting note I found recently in Sr. Lucienne’s journal is this: “When I die I hope people remember me more for WHO I was, rather than WHAT I did.” Please allow me as her sister to share some memories of WHO she was and what she leaved with me.

Sister Lucienne did not make it a practice to talk about herself, about her deep feelings, her prayer life or ministry. To me and for me, Lucienne has always been a loving and deeply caring sister. She has always been for our famiy and later in her life, for so many people, like an ATM machine — whenever anyone felt alone, abandoned, sick or needing help of any kind and mentioned this to Lucienne — out came the prayers, the consolation, affirmations, support, the love and caring. Another aspect of who she was which immediately comes to mind is her personal undaunting relationship with God. So often she would say: “Remember, God created each of us purely out of love. When we really know, really experience that love of God, our lives change.”

Her personal experience of being loved by God was fueled, I believe, by her many years of commitment to devoting at least one hour each day to contemplative prayer. She said of this practice: “I sit in contemplation of God. I am just in the presence of God. I love letting God love me and I love being alone with God.”

Sister Lucienne Savoie went peacefully to her eternal home on Friday, Jan. 9, at the age of 94.

In closing, my dear sister said this to me recently: “I have come to know that the only real gift I have at this time to offer my sisters in this community and in the world are my prayers and to ask God to continue to use me for all eternity as His instrument to bring about unity, healing and reconciliation.”

Memorials for Sister Lucienne Savoie may be given to the Sisters of St. Joseph Health Care/ Retirement Fund or the Apostolic Works of the Sisters; P.O Box 279, Concordia KS 66901. To make an online donation in Sister Lucienne’s memory, click on the button below:

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Comments

7 Responses to “Eulogy for Sister Lucienne Savoie, Nov. 16, 1920-Jan. 9, 2015”

  1. Lela( Mrs. Dwayne) Claussen on April 13th, 2015 7:32 pm

    dear Sr. Mary: I just learned of Sr. Lucy’s passing. I will e mail the link to your lovely eulogy to Jerry and Judy Clements, in whose Salina home we used to have those wonderful prayer meetings.
    our family always enjoyed visits by you girls and your family. Your father and Sr. Alberta Marie.
    So many wonderful memories come flooding in. We loved Sr. Lucy “to pieces” . My late husband probably
    Found her right away! god bless you, Sr.
    Lela Claussen in Nebraska

  2. Diane Brin on February 8th, 2015 8:34 am

    Dear Mary, it took me about a month to get here, but it was worth the wait! Lovely tribute to Lucy’s life and to your family. I even had a few tears. Had a really special hour with her last July. She was all up about wellness and wanted to do “the more” for others. She was doing that with her life and prayer. She had such a deep faith. Also loved OB with her in the delivery room. She had many, many happy mothers and babies. Made the whole event very special.Thanks for giving us the inside view of Lucienne. I know you are missing her.
    Love and healing energies,
    Diane

  3. Rose Ziesch Alvin on January 25th, 2015 6:43 am

    Sr. Mary,

    You and Sr. Lucienne provide many memories. My sister Anna and I visited the Motherhouse on Dec. 16, but we were told you were in Belleville and Sr. Lucienne was at a medical appointment. Sr. Jean made sure our trip to the Motherhouse was special. Got to spend special time with Sr. Janice.

    I will write you by snail mail soon. In the meantime, I wanted to acknowledge, much too late, that you and the faculty and Marymount College (Nursing, 1969) made me who I am. I will always love you and I understand that sister bond. Sorry for your loss on earth and her gain in heaven.

    Rose

  4. Patricia Lewter on January 19th, 2015 1:52 pm

    Mary, thank you for the beautiful eulogy for Lucy. I think it must have been hard even when we believe that she is still with us. We cannot imagine the hearts Lucy touched in Las Cruces – it really was a place Lucy loved and where she was so loved!

  5. Faye Huelsmann on January 19th, 2015 1:45 pm

    What a wonderful family you come from, Mary and Lucienne. Mary summed up Luciennes’ life very well and captured her love of God and great love of God and how she shared that with others. Her ministry never stopped, always enthused to help others.

  6. Regina Peltier on January 14th, 2015 10:47 am

    Thanks Mary for the beautiful tribute. I will always treasure the time we spent together both in community and while teaching at Marymount and in clinical areas!! You were both an inspiration!! Lucy was in familiar territory when she got to heaven.

  7. Lorren Harbin on January 13th, 2015 10:50 am

    Beautiful Mary, we will miss Lucienne. You and your family are in my prayers. I am so glad I got to visit with Lucianne many times these last years. Lucienne always had a big smile and words of wisdom to share. Even when she couldn’t remember your name she had beautiful things to say. I so enjoyed visiting with her.

    Prayers for you and your family.
    Lorren Harbin

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