Sister Alice Dronne, MSC
Sr. Alice Dronne, MSC
1930 - 2014
Sister Alice Dronne was born on March 30, 1930, in Chateau du Loir, France. An only child, Alice had the misfortune of losing her mother when she was only six years old. Her father placed her in the home of a nursemaid who raised her. Alice had an extremely difficult childhood where she was mistreated and deprived of what most children take for granted. The memories of such abuse remained very painful for the rest of her life.
In 1946, Alice fell ill and was treated at the Préventorium in Précigné where she received the care needed for her condition. Once healed, Alice worked as a helper in the kitchen at the Préventorium. She held on to the happy memories of these days. After a couple of years, and having admired the devotion of the sisters at the Préventorium, she decided to enter the postulancy of the Marianites.
Alice entered the Congregation at Précigné on September 2, 1950. Just a month and a half later, the Marianite motherhouse and the house of formation were transferred from Précigné to the Solitude in Le Mans. Hence, Alice was among the first postulants and novices at the Solitude.
Receiving the habit on April 14, 1951, at Holy Cross Church in Le Mans, Sr. Alice pronounced her first vows on May 7, 1952, and made perpetual profession on May 8, 1955.
After a brief course in 1952, Sister was sent to the boarding school in Beaumont sur Sarthe to be the cook as well as to take charge of interior service of the community. “The problem,” she recounted later, “was that I didn’t know how to do all that. I had everything to learn.” She had recourse to cookbooks to learn how to concoct and prepare meals for the boarders and day-scholars. One can imagine how much courage all this demanded of her.
In 1957, Alice was sent to the clinic in Paramé. There it was no longer children but the sick that she must nourish. “At that time we were doing a lot of canning and preserving of fruit, sometimes 600 or 700 jars in a year.” Since this was new to Alice, she sometimes spent half the night in the kitchen.
In 1963, Sister was named to go to the retirement home, Notre Dame de Gazonfier, in Le Mans. There she had to adapt her menus to the elderly. Another change in 1969 led her to the technical school, Marie Immaculée, in Laval. Alice was given the responsibility of the kitchen and household, a task she fulfilled with great devotion for twenty-two years. During those years, she participated in the meetings of religious engaged in community service, always with great joy. When, in 1991, her local community moved to a smaller dwelling, Sister was able to leave the large kitchen which had become too difficult for her. At this time, the provincial asked her to find a “job” in addition to cooking for the community. It was thus that Alice became actively involved in the sorting of clothes at Emmaus Association in Laval. In 1998, the community installed itself at Changé les Laval where she performed the same ministry and visited the sick and elderly. In 2002, Alice continued serving at Rue du Nord (Maison Frère André) in Le Mans, but on a much smaller scale.
Finally in January, 2013, her failing health and the staircases that had become dangerous for her at Rue du Nord obliged Alice to join the community at Notre Dame de la Solitude. In June of that year, Alice was sent to the retirement home of Beaulieu where she received a very warm welcome. Always smiling, attentive to others, she traveled the halls to speak with the persons she met. This was for her a true ministry during which she made numerous friends among the sisters, the personnel and the residents.
Sister Alice sincerely loved the Congregation and will be missed by all who knew her. She will be remembered as a smiling, pleasant, agreeable, humble and devoted companion – in a word, a true Marianite.
Sister went home to God peacefully on February 13, 2014, at the hospital in Le Mans surrounded by Sisters Ann Lacour, Stephanie Brignac, Jacqueline Brechotte, and Thérèse Poupard who were reciting the “Hail Mary.” Her funeral took place in the chapel of the Solitude on February 17, 2014, presided over by Father Abbeloos, chaplain of the Solitude. Three Fathers of Holy Cross also participated. Sister Alice’s body reposes in the Holy Cross cemetery in Le Mans.
In attendance were Alice’s cousins and numerous friends from near and far who had come to render her homage. The abundance of flowers also witnessed the friendship so many felt toward her. The ceremony was simple and profound. Sr. Alice’s body reposes in Holy Cross cemetery in Le Mans.
We end with some of the thoughts found in Alice’s journals:
“For me, God is a loving and merciful Father in whom we can have great confidence.”
“We must listen for and hear the word that God has placed in each of us.”
“God can give life and asks each of us to make disciples according to his desire.”
Thank you, Alice, for the example you have given us by your dedication and devotion to serve humbly through your whole life.