Sister Arlette Bouteloup, MSC
Sr. Arlette Bouteloup, MSC
1917 - 2015
Sister Arlette Bouteloup was born in Fresnaye sur Chédouet in the Sarthe on November 17, 1917. Her parents were Clément Bouteloup and Henriette Brisson, and she had one brother who was seventeen years older than she.
Arlette had a happy childhood and was both a gifted seamstress and an athlete who won several swimming medals when she was young.
In 1938, during a pilgrimage to Lourdes, Arlette heard the call, ”Come, follow me,” and believed that her call was to be a Carmelite. Living in Chateau-du-Loir, the only religious she knew were the sisters of Evron. One of their superiors came to meet with Arlette, but nothing resulted. When Arlette required an operation, her doctor sent her to the clinic of the Marianites in Le Mans in March of 1939. Happy with the care she received, she felt the call to be a nursing religious, her ideal, and her vocation. Needless to say, this was not well-received by her parents, and Arlette had to wait.
In September of 1939, the war broke out and Arlette asked to come to the clinic in Le Mans as a nurses’ aide since she had a diploma which she had earned from the Girl Scouts of France. Accepted as a worker, she was now in relationship with the Marianites, but time continued to pass. During those months, Arlette met the superior-general of the sisters, Mother Mary of St. Julien Leroux.
At long last and to her great joy, on September 8, 1941, at the age of 23, Arlette entered the postulancy of the Marianites at the motherhouse in Précigné. When she entered the novitiate, Arlette received her religious name: Sr. Mary of St. Camillus de Lellis (he was a nurse!). On August 8, 1943, she pronounced temporary vows and on August 10, 1946, Sister made perpetual profession. Then began her long career in health care, a ministry which lasted from 1943 until 1984.
Beginning as a nurses’ aide at St. Joseph Clinic in Le Mans, Arlette completed her studies at the nursing school of the hospital in Le Mans and received her license in 1944. She then served at St. Michel Clinic in Angers, and at St. Pierre Fourrier in Epinal where she was put in charge of the operating room at the hospital.
Coming back to St. Joseph Clinic in 1952, she occupied herself in the operating room and then in the pharmacy. In September 1969, Sister was put in charge of intensive-care at St. Mary’s Clinic in Paramé where she was close to the ocean and able to renew the swimming activities which she so enjoyed.
In June of 1978, Arlette was sent to the recovery room at Clinique Ste Croix in Le Mans. The next year she became responsible for the service of oto-rhinolaryngology (diseases of the ear, nose, and throat).
When in 1984, Arlette began working part-time, she went to minister to the elderly residents of the retirement home in Annoville. Two years later, she was named to assist at Notre Dame de Gazonfier, the retirement home opposite the motherhouse in Le Mans. She also visited the elderly in their homes.
It was in 1997 that the transfer of the elderly, ill and convalescent sisters took place when they moved to their new home of Notre Dame de la Solitude, built on the same property as our motherhouse, la Solitude du Sauveur. There Arlette, although officially retired, was put in charge of the sacristy. When Arlette did actually retire, her days were filled with an intense spiritual life and life in community. In 2013, she had written about herself in the annals of France, “I keep a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin, to St. Joseph, to St. Therese of the Infant Jesus, and to Padre Pio. My motto, during my 72 years of religious life has been, “All for the love of God!”
Her life would end on May 27, 2015 at Notre Dame de la Solitude where she was surrounded by her sisters. Let us recall the following witness concerning her long life’s journey, “Sister Arlette was an experienced, courageous, hardworking nurse who was ever faithful to her friends.” Such is the memory she leaves to all her religious sisters, her family, and her friends.
Arlette’s funeral took place in the chapel of the Solitude on Monday, June 1, 2015. Her body reposes in the conventual cemetery of Holy Cross in Le Mans.
May the Lord welcome her into his Peace and Joy.