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Sister Rose Michele Boudreau

Sister Rose Michele Boudreau

“Wherever you go, I will go, wherever you live, I will live. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” Ruth 1:16

“Sister Rose Michele Boudreau was first a Sister of Providence, second, an accomplished teacher and third, an artist, but some might debate the order of two and three,” said Sister Rosemary Schmalz, in a commentary for Sister Rose Michele that was written by Sister Patricia Linehan. Sister Rose Michele died Dec. 4.

Born Anna Marie Boudreau April 29, 1928, in Chicago, she was one of three daughters of James and Genevieve McGregor Boudreau. She attended St. Agnes Grade School and Providence High School, both in Chicago. On July 22, 1947, she entered the Congregation and professed first and perpetual vows Jan. 23, 1950, and 1955, respectively. Sister Rose Michele earned a bachelor’s degree in education with an art minor from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, a master’s degree in art education from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree in spirituality from the University of San Francisco.

Sister Rose Michele’s first teaching ministry was at St. Mary, Richmond, Ind., in 1950. She spent two years at St. John, Whiting, Ind. Many of her teaching years were spent in Illinois, either in the classroom or as an administrator. Those classrooms included St. Mary, Aurora; and St. Andrew, St. Mel, St. David, St. Angela and St. Genevieve, Chicago. Sister Rose Michele also ministered as a principal at Corpus Christi, Oklahoma City, Okla. From 1975 to 1980, she served as the associate superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Peoria, Ill.

“Art students of Sister Rose Michele tell of miracle creations — making something out of nothing! Not one scrap, one jot, one tittle went to waste, and miracle of miracles, they were creations to behold! She began with urging and showing children how to imagine and how to create. She got rid of furniture. Children sat on the floor and moved about freely, exploring tools for learning. She took them to museums and plays and to see ‘Jesus Christ Superstar.’ She progressed to leading teachers to imagine and planted in them the seeds of possibility of newness and growth to lead children to learn in expanding and exciting new ways,” said Sister Rosemary.

But Sister Rose Michele’s love of art wasn’t limited to sharing it with teachers and students in the Midwest. “Late in the 1970s, a call went out from the general superior asking all sisters to consider a mission assignment to Taiwan,” recalled Sister Rosemary. “Sister Rose Michele discerned with a group of sisters in Chicago. Her discernment question was simple, ‘Why not?’ She found no reasons to hold back, but she wondered if learning the language would be possible.”

From 1980 to 1992, Sister Rose Michele ministered in a variety of roles in Taiwan. During those 12 years, she ministered as an instructor, and spiritual and retreat director at Mother Marie Gratia Spirituality Center, Providence College and Fu Jen University.

After returning to the Woods in 1992, she ministered as the program director of creativity for self-development. “She branched out to include all sisters at the Woods who wished to experiment in any art form. This included weekly sessions in spirituality with the novices in which she gently encouraged less words, more openness and listening to the inner voice — and no such thing as ‘I can’t,’” said Sister Rosemary.

The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Rose Michele was celebrated Dec. 9, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. She is survived by a sister, Rita Lynch of Orland Park, Ill.

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