Sister M. Marie Marchand, CSC

(September 2, 1921 - January 8, 2014)

Word has been received of the death of Sister Marie Marchand, who died at 1:10 a.m. on Wednesday, January 8, 2014, in Saint Mary's Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana.

Sister Marie was skilled in many areas and used her gifts to serve the needs of others. After spending 30 years in a formal classroom setting, approximately 20 years in the middle grades and 10 years in junior high, her ministry focus took a different turn. She enrolled in Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) in Westminster, Maryland, to become certified in teaching sign language. After successfully completing this preparation, she spent the next 10 years utilizing this skill — first in Cincinnati, Ohio, teaching at St. Rita School for the Deaf and then in Petersburg, West Virginia, to work with the deaf students in that public school system. When her own hearing began to fail Sister Marie realized she could no longer be effective in that role. However, she remained positive and enthusiastic in searching for other ways to share her talents.

Sister Marie then launched a new phase of her ministry by volunteering to serve in various social service programs. The first was the So Others May Eat (SOME) program in Washington, D.C., where she performed office and clerical duties for this non-profit social service agency noted for treating ill and homeless people through the medical, dental and mental health programs it offered. Next she shared her skills working in the Basic Adult Education Center, founded in 1972 by Sister Virginia Miceli in Elkhart, Indiana. This program was established to help those wanting to earn a high school equivalency credential (GED), and Sister Marie, a super math teacher, fit right in. She gladly shared her teaching techniques with others. Sister Joyce Troyer, who also taught in the program, was mentored by Sister Marie. She said she was really grateful because social studies, not math, was her field.

In 1990 Sister Marie began volunteering in the Forever Learning Institute in South Bend, Indiana. Her expertise in math and her fluency in French contributed greatly to the program since the official mission of this organization is to improve the quality and dignity of senior adult life through intellectual challenges, spiritual reflection and social interaction. What better use of her skills and dedication?

Much of what Sister Marie did in her lifetime reflected her commitment to her own carefully defined righteous standards of propriety. She lived by them and though she did not strictly impose them on others, she always was happy to share these ideals whenever the opportunity arose.

Sister Virginia Marie MacNeil, her good friend for many years, said of her, “Once a friend, always a friend,” and she gave a perfect example of Sister Marie’s self-sacrifice and loyalty. When Sister Virginia Marie’s mother was critically ill, Sister Marie gave up her planned vacation with her sister, Sister Jeanne d’Arc, to spend that time offering her good friend support and comfort.

This pattern of a giving nature was a thread throughout Sister Marie’s life and, once she was no longer able for a full-time ministry assignment, she continued to offer service. She became the official driver for the sisters living at Saint Angela Hall and the Academy of Holy Cross in Kensington, Maryland, for two years and then transferred to Lourdes Convent at Saint Mary’s, where the sisters’ needs were her first priority.

Sister Marie had great devotion to the Blessed Mother and to St. Michael and found spiritual strength in this relationship. She was on a first-name basis with the Blessed Mother, and her prayers were often simple conversations with Mary. These loving conversations probably continued face to face when Sister Marie was greeted in heaven. May she rest in peace.


Back to Memoriam