One Hundred Years in N. Attleborough, MA
The Holy Union Sisters recently marked the 100 year anniversary of our arrival in North Attleborough, MA. Below is a wonderful celebration of this anniversary written by Holy Union Associate Fr. David Costa, Pastor of Transfiguration of Our Lord Parish, which appeared in the September 17th parish bulletin. To visit the site where the article appears, click here.
The image above includes several of our Sisters from the early years of our work at Sacred Hearts School in N. Attleborough, including: S. Marie Consolata (Diana Dusablon), S. Pauline Louise (Edna Boivin), S. Anne, Genevieve (Victorine Boudreau), S. Gabrielle Lucie (Theodora Martel), S. Therese Edna (Paula Marquis), and S. Henri Bernadette (Rebecca LeBlanc). No pictures exist of the first Sisters who founded the school as Sisters of that period, held to the attitude that they should be ‘known only to God’ and thus tended to avoid being photographed or publicized.
This past Friday, our parish marked the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Holy Union Sisters in North Attleborough. On that Saturday in 1923, the first five Sisters, led by superior and principal, Mother Adrienne Cecile, arrived at the still unfinished convent wing of the new school building on Richards Avenue. One week later, a sixth Sister arrived from Fall River due to the unexpected number of student registrations.
Fr. Louis Dequoy, second pastor of Sacred Heart parish, desiring to share the teachings of the Catholic Faith and to preserve the French-Canadian heritage and language of the parish founders, proposed the building of an elementary school shortly after his arrival in the parish in 1921. A school faculty would be necessary for this new venture. To that end, Fr. Dequoy approached Mother Marie Helena, provincial superior of the Religious of the Holy Union of the Sacred Hearts in Fall River, seeking religious to staff his school.
Mother Adrienne Cecile was selected as the first superior of the community and first principal of the school. Born in Beaudignies, Nord, France, she entered Holy Union in Douai, France, in 1896, and arrived in the United States on December 24, 1919. After serving for two years in North Attleborough, Mother Adrienne Cecile was sent to St. Cecilia School in Pawtucket where she served until 1933. She returned to the motherhouse in Tournai, Belgium, that year and died a year later.
Two of the founding faculty made significant contributions to the North Attleborough community. Sister Louise Rita Bourget was 18 years old and newly professed when she arrived at Sacred Heart. In her thirty-two consecutive years of service on Richards Avenue, Sister taught Grades 1, 2, 3, 6, and 8. After more than 50 years of teaching, Sister retired to Saint Mary Convent in North Attleborough. She died on February 25, 1989, and is buried in Saint Mary Cemetery. Interestingly, Fr. Costa had Sister Louise Rita as a teacher at Taunton Catholic Middle School in 1973, fifty years after her first assignment at Sacred Heart.
Sister Claire Agnes Roy, a native of Lawrence, MA, entered Holy Union at the age of 16, and taught music in Taunton before being assigned to Sacred Heart. While assigned with us, Sister pronounced her perpetual vows in 1925. From 1923 to 1945, Sister Claire Agnes taught grades 1, 2, 5, and 7, and gave music lessons during and after school. Sister returned to using her baptismal name, Estelle, in the early 1970’s. After more than 62 years of service at various Holy Union staffed schools in Taunton, North Attleborough, Pawtucket, Lawrence, and Groton, Sister retired. She died on January 4, 2001, and is buried in Concord, MA.
During the past 100 years, ninety Holy Union Sisters have served the North Attleborough community. Sister Kathee Corrigan continues this long history of generosity, commitment, and service. In addition to her ministry as pastoral associate in our parish, Sister Kathee is also a member of the leadership team for the United States area of Holy Union along with Sister Mary Lou Sullivan.
As we mark this centennial, please join me in thanking Sister Kathee and all of the Holy Union Sisters who have generously served North Attleborough, faithful to their charism: “at the heart of the world, revealing God’s love.”