During the annual crowning of Mary at Our Lady of Lourdes on Friday, May 15th, the students, current and former faculty, parents, and friends recognized and honored Dominican Sister of Hope Mary Elizabeth DeBoer for her unwavering devotion and loyalty to the children, both past and present, of Our Lady of Lourdes in Greenville, MS.

Sister Mary Elizabeth is walked in by a student.

Seventeen years ago, (in July 1998) Sister Mary Elizabeth DeBoer arrived in Greenville, MS, to begin teaching Lourdes 5th and 6th grade students’ language arts and math. During the past eight years, Sister Mary has been the volunteer librarian at Lourdes, where she has shared her love of reading with children and adults, alike. Sister Mary Elizabeth entered the Dominican Sisters of Hope in Newburgh, NY, in 1949, and began her teaching career in 1952.

Sister Mary Elizabeth has taught in Catholic schools in New York, North Carolina, New Jersey and Mississippi. She has served as principal of two separate schools in Durham, NC, and Glen Rock, NJ. As Our Lady of Lourdes wrote in their newsletter, “Sister Mary has brought her love of education to many who have walked through the doors of Our Lady of Lourdes.”

“Teaching children and developing their spiritual life is a life process, in which I am most proud to have participated,” said Sr. Mary. As she begins her new chapter of life in Ossining, NY, she says her hope “is to read children’s books to adults who can no longer read or are incapable of reading.”

Mary is celebrated during the month of May in the Catholic Church, as the Virgin Holy Mother of Jesus Christ and Mother of all Christians. “We recognize her humility before God by answering his call to be the virgin mother of His son, her unwavering belief in her son’s purpose and her gentle loving care of all God’s children on Earth through special masses or religious ceremonies,” Our Lady of Lourdes writes. Sister Mary Elizabeth was honored at the school’s annual crowning of Mary.

Sister Mary Elizabeth with students