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Eight Marianite sisters celebrate jubilees April 26

Eight Marianites of Holy Cross will celebrate anniversaries of entrance into the Congregation on April 26 at 10:30 a.m. in the Our Lady of Holy Cross Moreau Center Chapel in New Orleans.

Six of the sisters will take part in the jubilee ceremonies marking 50, 60, 70 and 75 years as members of their religious congregation. In addition, four other sisters will be celebrating anniversaries later this year in France. The Marianites of Holy Cross came to Louisiana in 1848 to minister to the needs of the times in education and care of the orphans.

Sister Enda Eileen Byrne
(75 years) is a native of New York and journeyed to Louisiana to enter the Marianites of Holy Cross with the intent to become a missionary working in the bayous of Louisiana. Sister Enda spent the next 50 years teaching in 10 Catholic schools and three public schools in Plaquemine, Opelousas, Ville Platte, Houma, Algiers, New Orleans and Kenner. She also taught catechism in and around the bayous of south Louisiana. She was one of three sisters in Plaquemine Parish to brave the integration of classes during the early 1960s. Despite being threatened with incarceration, the sisters successfully overcame the obstacles to see the very first integrated First Communion class in the parish. She holds doctorates from Loyola University and the University of Mississippi. She served as president of Our Lady of Holy Cross College. Sister Enda served for 15 years with the Hispanic community teaching immigrants English and students with special needs and behavioral disorders, plus did volunteer work at St. Jerome Church in Kenner with ESL and the Hispanic Community.

Sister Audrey Strassel
(70 years), a native of New Orleans, entered the Marianites of Holy Cross in 1944 after graduating from Holy Name of Mary High School. She served 52 years in education, teaching in Plaquemine, Houma and New Orleans. She also taught catechism, coached girls’ sports and directed children’s choirs. She was known as a great math teacher and as the nun with the most beautiful singing voice. She served for 25 years at Holy Name of Mary. She resides in old Algiers.

Sister Elsie Mae Vidrine
(70 years) entered the Marianites in 1944. Sister Elsie Mae (Sister Maurice) was well known for her ability to supervise food service programs for the community at the motherhouse, schools and hospitals. She spent many years supervising the Academy of Holy Angels cafeteria, She also served in dietary supervision and coordinator of volunteers at Ville Platte General Hospital. She volunteered at St. Michael School in Crowley. She resides at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Nursing Facility and engages her time crocheting angel baby blankets and in prayer ministry.

Sister Mary Anne Peltier
(60 years), a native of New Orleans, entered the Marianites in 1954. She has served in education and administration, first as an elementary teacher for 16 years and later as a principal for 27 years in Ville Platte, Lake Charles, New Orleans and in Ocean Springs and Biloxi, Miss. In 1990, she was called by the Marianites to Bangalore, India. She later served as principal and then was elected to be a congregational assistant on the Marianite Leadership Team from 2001-07. Sister Mary Anne serves as coordinator of the Marianite assisted living convent and as a volunteer at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Nursing Home in Opelousas.

Sister Juanita Wood
(60 years), a native of Honduras, attended Holy Angels Academy boarding school and entered the community after graduation. After studies, she taught elementary school in Lake Charles and Franklin. In the Archdiocese of New Orleans, she taught at St. Agnes, St. Rita, Holy Name of Mary and Sts. Peter and Paul schools. After a year of missionary work in the West Indies, she began work in special education at New Orleans Adolescent Hospital and at Holy Rosary Academy. She also was registrar at Our Lady of Holy Cross College. She now works in Recovery School District schools and charter schools in New Orleans at Sabis, Esperanza and Banneker, and is currently working with Hispanic children at Andrew Wilson Charter School.

Sister Jacklyn Ann Bunch
(60 years), a native of New Orleans, entered the Marianites in 1954. In the archdiocese, she taught at St. Christopher, St. Andrew the Apostle and Academy of the Holy Angels. She also taught in Port Allen and Lake Charles and served at Our Lady of Holy Cross College. Following ministry as resident manager of Christopher Inn Apartments in New Orleans, she was office manager of the national ofice of the Movement for a Better World in Washington, D.C. She was appointed secretary general of the Marianites and presently serves on the congregational staff.

Sister Marie Noel
(50 years), a native of Church Point, La., entered the Marianites in 1964. She has served more than 40 years in education, serving as a teacher or principal at Christ the King, St. Andrew the Apostle, Academy of the Holy Angels and St. Rita School in New Orleans. She also served in Alexandria. After 28 years in Catholic schools, she spent 16 years in Orleans Parish public schools and Recovery School District schools. She was an adjunct instructor at Tulane University for several summers. Sister Marie Noel has served on several community, civic and school district boards and as a reader of state grants for education. In 2012, she was elected to and serves the Marianites on the Leadership Team as a congregational assistant.

Sister Rochelle Perrier
(50 years), a native of New Orleans, entered the Marianites in 1964. She taught in parochial schools in New Orleans, Houma, and Ocean Springs, Miss. In the 1970s, she was vocation director and a member of the formation team. She served in Bangalore, India, for a short time. She worked as pastoral associate in Franklin, La., and director of religious education in Pineville, La. She was a member of the Marianite leadership team from 2001-07. For 12 years, she has served as vice president of mission and spirituality and presently serves as a chaplain and member of the spiritual care team at Christus St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe, N.M.

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