Sister Mary Louise Gude, CSC

(May 7, 1939 - January 9, 2013)

Word has been received of the death of Sister Mary Louise Gude, who died at 7:55 p.m. on Wednesday, January 9, 2013, in Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana.

Sister Mary Louise, “ML” as friends called her, was a brilliant and wise religious woman. She was a generous person who never stinted in her efforts to meet the requests and needs of others. Her talent for perceiving the core of a situation and working for a solution was one of her special gifts.

Sister ML received a PhD in French literature from the University of Pennsylvania and a licentiate from the University of Montreal. She also was the author of two books on French literature. In 1983, she was department chair of Modern Languages at Saint Mary’s College while serving as rector of Breen-Phillips Hall at the University of Notre Dame, a dual commitment that lasted four years.

In 1987, Sister ML took on the full-time responsibility of hall rector and the teaching of French at Notre Dame. Over the course of her career at Notre Dame, she was assistant department chair of Romance Languages and assistant vice president of Student Affairs. Besides these academic commitments, Sister ML was a leader in promoting educational programming for students on gay and lesbian issues and the Church’s teachings on understanding and acceptance of all God’s children.

Continuing to work with students and faculty, Sister ML carried this same empathy to Saint Mary’s College when she became vice president of Mission in 2009. Carol Mooney, president of the college, praised her leadership and her love of Saint Mary’s students.

Because of Sister ML’s fluency in French and love of the language, she was chosen to be the simultaneous translator for the Institute of Spirituality offered each summer in Le Mans, France. Her remarkable ability in the French language led to the request that she coordinate the preparation for the beatification of Father Basil Anthony Moreau in 2007. This task required her to organize all aspects of the ceremonies. Preparations for conducting the ceremonies in two languages would be a challenge even for the most able, but for Sister ML it was a labor of love which she accomplished with her usual thoroughness and finesse.

Even in retirement, Sister ML continued using her writing skills and language fluency to translate documents for the congregation’s Archives. She also helped some of the novices as a spiritual director and writing tutor — all of this while she struggled with the progressive diminishment of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Because she was such a giving person one might believe that her gifts would become overextended, but her own deep well of spiritual strength was bottomless and she kept on giving. She loved Scripture and used her French Bible each day as part of her prayer life. Sister ML gave of herself without counting the cost. Now she rests in the peace of God.


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