Sister Louise Place, OP (Sister Mary Lawrence) of the Dominican Sisters of Hope died on April 23, 2020, at the Wartburg, Mount Vernon, New York. She was 90 years of age.
The daughter of the late William and Mary Louise Rousselle Place, she was born May 14, 1929 in Fall River, Massachusetts.
Sister Louise entered the novitiate of the Dominican Sisters of Fall River, Massachusetts on February 1, 1947, made her First Profession August 30, 1948, and Final Profession August 30, 1952. Sister Louise earned her BS in Education from the College of the Sacred Hearts, Fall River MA.
Sister Louise was a dedicated teacher much loved by her students. She taught in several different schools in Massachusetts between 1948-2007. These schools included the Dominican Academy in Fall River MA; St. Patrick’s School in Fall River MA, St. Francis Xavier School in Acushnet was where she spent more than forty years. Sister taught and witnessed the growth of several generations during her time there. At St Francis she taught a variety of grades and then later served as a substitute teacher and volunteer. Sister organized the school’s first walk-a-thon in 1973, and was actively involved in this successful fundraiser until her retirement in 2007.
Besides her responsibilities as a parochial school teacher, Sister Louise also taught religious education classes for St. Anne’s Parish in Mooers Forks NY and for St. Augustine’s Parish in Peru, NY.
In January 2008, Sister moved to the Dominican Sisters Center of Hope in Newburgh, NY. She moved to the Wartburg in Mount Vernon, New York in 2009.
Sister Louise will be remembered for the twinkle in her eye, her great sense of humor, her love for pranks, her baseball card collection, and most especially her deep faith and generous spirit.
Sister Louise was predeceased by her parents, her brothers Thomas and William and her sister Dorothy Perkins. She is survived by her nephew Bradford Perkins and her niece Ann George.
Sister Louise has been cremated and a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River, MA at a later date when conditions permit. Internment of Sister’s cremains will follow that liturgy in Notre Dame Cemetery in Fall River.
Sr. Mary Lawrence was my first-grade teacher at D.A. [I still remember the Lincoln Syrup bottles she had filled with colored water to brighten up our classroom windows!] The following year she worked at a nursery near my home and I would hope to see her on its porch each day as I walked passed. Many, many years later when I returned to D.A. to teach, I would come to know her again as Sr. Louise Place, as we worked with so many others on the annual Festival of joy. And she did indeed still have that twinkle in her eye. She will indeed be fondly missed.
This woman saved my life when I was seven years old.
I came to Acushnet and Saint Francis Xavier in the 2nd grade severely behind my peers academically as I did not know how to read.
She worked with me day in and day out that entire year. With extreme patience, clarity and a cheerful sense of humor, she taught my how to read.
I remember reading the Narrative of Frederick Douglass a few years later at Saint Francis in the 7th grade and thinking about the deep gratitude I had for Sr. Louise who I would only see around the hallways. She gave me the key into a world of profound beauty and power.
Because of her I’ve was able to develop a deep love of poetry, history and all creative endeavors that required a love for reading.
I am now a teacher myself. I teach high school World History. I begin every year telling students about the story of Sr Louise and her impact in my life to stress how individual people can operate as historical causes of extreme turning points.
When the days are long and my patience and endurance is required for helping a student, she is in the corner of my mind pointing at the right words to say.
Patrick, Thank you for so tenderly sharing your story here. We join you in praying in thanksgiving for Sister Louise! No doubt, she is thrilled to watch you teaching now with compassion and joy.
I really only have good memories of Sr. Louise. I worked in the school office at St. Francis X. School. Over the years, Louise and I became good friends. She was always encouraging, kind, helpful and so caring of everyone especially the students. She had a great devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux to whom she confided many of her intentions. It was always a great joy when a rose or roses appeared confirming that her prayers were answered. Rest in peace, dear friend.
I worked with Sister Louise at SFX Acushnet. What a great woman, a great religious. She loved not just the children she taught but the whole parish community. May she rest in the Lord’s peace.
And I read what Patrick Flynn wrote and I think, yes, that’s Sr. Louise. She was such a simple follower of Jesus.