Sr. Alice Vandendriessche

Sr. M. St. Jude

Born::  Weyburn, Saskatchewan, 26/6/1913
Postulancy::Regina, Saskatchewan, 29/7/1933
Novitiate:: Regina, Saskatchewan, 2/2/1934
1st Profession:: Regina, Saskatchewan, 3/2/1936
Final Vows::Regina, Saskatchewan, 3/2/1942
Died:: Regina, Saskatchewan, 23/11/2012

Sister Alice was born on a farm, third in a family of six daughters and one son.  Her father, Edmond Vandendriessche, and her mother, Odile DeBruyne, born in France and Belgium respectively, were deeply religious people who recognized the importance of education for their children, all of whom attained standing in the professional world.  Alice earned a teacher's certificate and taught school for a year before becoming a postulant at Sacred Heart College where religious and university studies prepared her for both her vowed life and forty-two years in the classroom.  She taught for fourteen years in Manitoba, at St. Michael's Academy in Brandon and in the public schools in St. Eustache and Ste. Rose du Lac, several of those years serving as school principal as well as classroom teacher.  The remaining teaching years were spent in St. Mary's School, Sacred Heart Academy and Miller Comprehensive High School in Regina.

Students remember Sister as bright, cheerful, well-informed and very skilled at sharing her wide range of knowledge.  In later years she taught mostly home economics and we are inclined to think of her particularly in those fields.  However, when a group of Sisters got together Alice often pointed out that many of them (now well into their own senior years) were her students and they recalled her as a teacher of English or history or algebra or whatever subject was needed in any given year.

Sister retired from teaching in 1978 and occupied herself with various services in the community, including keeping the local accounts and acting as auditor for the Canadian houses.  She was an excellent cook, a skilled seamstress and a devoted gardener.  Sewing for the Sisters (and even for former students!), knitting mittens for the poor, making afghans, preserving the fruits of her labour in the garden - these were among her many activities.  Alice was also a formidable card player, never missing an opportunity to play, especially when visiting her family.

In 1980 Sister Alice went to Rome for the renewal program for senior Sisters.  One of the most important pictures in her room was that of her being presented to Pope John Paul II.  At the end of her time in Italy she was able to visit the Holy Land, another highlight of her life.  Returning to Brandon the next year, Sister began the five-year task of writing a history of our Congregation in Canada from 1898 to 1948.

Alice then came home to Saskatchewan, first to Lebret and then to Regina.  For some years she lived in Holy Family Parish.  She particularly enjoyed this community because the house was close to a bus stop and she could go downtown by herself.  The parish was extremely hospitable to the Sisters, and the Seniors' Club presented Alice with some worthwhile opponents at their weekly card games!  From there she moved to Cathedral Courts (which was known as Sacred Heart Academy when she taught there some years earlier) because it was even closer to church and there were no stairs to climb.

In 2001 Alice moved to the Sisters' Residence at Santa Maria Senior Citizens' Home where she became a familiar figure going to and from the chapel for services and her private devotions.  In February of 2008 a series of falls made it evident that she required more help and she transferred into nursing care where she was happy, gracious and grateful for every care.

Early in November, 2012 Alice broke out in shingles on her head and right eye.  Diagnosis took some time and she endured the excruciating pain with typical patience.  Finally some relief came from medication and Alice fell into a more easeful state until she slipped quietly away on November 23.


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