Sister Elaine Doucette (formerly Sister Elaine Marie)
A reading from the gospel of Matthew:
“The disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ So he called a little child to him and set the child in front of them. Then he said, ‘I tell you solemnly, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. And so, whoever makes herself or himself as little as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives a child such as this receives me.’”
This excerpt from the gospel was chosen by Elaine for us to ponder as we also ponder the blessings of her life, said Sister Margaret Quinlan in her commentary for Sister Elaine Doucette, formerly Sister Elaine Marie, who died on Friday, July 27, at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. She was 82 years old and had been a Sister of Providence for 65 years.
Sister Margaret continued, Sister Elaine Doucette was born in Melrose, Massachusetts, to George and Florence Martin Doucette. She had six sisters and three brothers. Mary, Florence, Ruth, Carol and Ed survive her, and Jean, Marian, George and Bob preceded her in death.
Elaine was educated at Cheverus Elementary School and Cheverus High School in Malden, Massachusetts, and she graduated from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.
Elaine entered the Sisters of Providence in 1953, made first profession in 1956, and final vows in 1961. Elaine taught grades one and two in Illinois, Maryland, Indiana, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. She especially enjoyed teaching first graders. She wrote, “My task has become not just to teach the children about the faith, but to help them believe in it. It’s a daunting responsibility.”
Elaine returned to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1979, where she ministered in many different ways, as a nursing assistant, as a driver, as the gift shop manager, as prayer for the housekeeping staff, and as a volunteer at the Will Center. I remember one time seeing Elaine at the front door of Health Care, where she was waiting for her ride to come. I asked her, “Elaine, where are you off to?” Her face lit up, and she said, “The Will Center.” She volunteered there as a receptionist and obviously loved going there, and the people there loved her. One year, she was named the Volunteer of the Year there.
Elaine loved being outdoors. She loved being by the water, though she hadn’t been by the ocean in many years. Her favorite spot around here was the courtyard garden by Health Care, in the swing. Elaine was welcoming and sociable. She loved chocolate ice cream. She enjoyed it when Sister Rose Ann Eaton took her and Pauline Brockelsby out for lunch or for ice cream. She loved sharing the candy sent to her by her family. She loved sharing with her sisters and with the aides. She enjoyed making her own Christmas cards with Sheila Donis. She wrote poetry and did art work, some of which is in the back of church. She loved bingo. When her two sisters, Florence and Mary, and her niece, Barbara, came to visit recently, they brought a bag of prizes for the bingo games. Elaine was so pleased and gave it all to the Activities Department. Stephanie Downing, a massage therapist, recalled that Elaine enjoyed crafts and coloring books, she enjoyed going out to shop, that she loved to laugh, that she was full of love. Sister Mary Montgomery summarized it by saying, “Elaine reached a lot of other people’s hearts.”
The hospice nurse was with her the last 45 minutes. Just before Elaine died, she opened her eyes, looked up, and exclaimed, “My, that’s beautiful,” and took her last breath.
Funeral services for Sister Elaine took place on Thursday, August 2, and Friday, August 3, at the Church of the Immaculate Conception.
Memorial contributions in Sister Elaine’s honor may be made to the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
We welcome you to share your memories of Sister Elaine in the comment section below.
Sister Elaine Doucette
Teacher for 23 years in schools in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Hampshire
In Indiana: St. Agnes, Indianapolis (1959-62); St. Jude, Indianapolis (1963-66).
In Illinois: Our Lady of Mercy, Chicago (1956-57).
In Maryland: Ascension, Halethorpe (1957-59).
In Massachusetts: St. Patrick, Stoneham (1962-63); Sacred Hearts, Malden (1966-69).
In New Hampshire: Mary Mother of Mankind, Portsmouth (1969-79).
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So very blessed to have been with her, along with my sister Florence and niece, Barbara to say our goodbyes personally. A huge thank you to Sister Mary Montgomery for her love and devotion and acting as liaison from Indiana. Our entire families are most grateful to her and all the Sisters of Providence who have taken such wonderful care of Sister all these years. God has called her home and in het own words, she was “ready”. She will be sorely missed by all of us. God bless.