Sister Cecile Bluteau, MSC
Sr. Cecile Bluteau
1920 – 2015
Sr. Cecile Bluteau was born February 20, 1920 in Le Mans, France, to a family of teachers. Her father was principal of an elementary school in Le Mans and also in Le Lude. Cecile and her sister became teachers in Le Lude where Jesus said to them, “Come with me and I will make you missionary disciples.” The two sisters, coming from a lay milieu, each answered the Lord in her own way. Today they are together in the Kingdom of the Father.
Cecile taught public school in Le Lude. In 1941, when she was hospitalized at the Marianite Clinic in Le Mans, an interior force moved her to go to the chapel where she experienced a compelling call inviting her to leave all and give herself to God alone. Cecile wrote, “No one believed I had fallen in love with God and most people gave me six months. Those six months lasted until today.” Cecile entered the postulate of the Marianites in Précigné that same year, 1941. After her novitiate and temporary vows, Cecile made perpetual profession in 1946.
Her ministry as a math teacher was exercised alternately in Beaumont-sur-Sarthe and Chateau-du-Loir where she served as principal until 1967. Those years were for her an opportunity to devote herself to the development of young people as part of the Catholic Action movement thanks to activities and camps she organized with young volunteers from the parish.
When she was named Assistant Superior General of the Marianites, Cecile moved to the Solitude. She gave math courses at the high school of Muriers and taught English conversation to the sisters who were interested.
During her twelve years as Assistant General, Cecile also visited the Marianite foreign missions in Bangladesh, Haiti, and the Ivory Coast. There she discovered poverty and misery that we who live in developed countries cannot begin to imagine. Cecile loved her congregation which she served with great competence and availability. She participated in several general and provincial chapters and also served as a provincial councillor in France.
In 1978, Sister returned to Chateau-du-Loir as directress of St. John School where she also resumed all her professional and parish activities. Then in 1982, she was sent to St. Ann School in Le Lude. Two years later she began her retirement and received the honor of Academic Palms to close out her academic career in Le Lude where she had begun, but this time in Catholic education.
Cecile remained in the parish until 1996. She taught catechism and participated in the chaplaincy of the public schools. As at Beaumont and at Chateau-du-Loir, these years were enriching for her, thanks to her activities and the many relationships she formed on the parish and diocesan levels. For two years, Cecile joined the Brother Andre community in Le Mans with whom she ministered at Yvré-l’Eveque and also assured permanence in Holy Cross parish. From there, she moved to the Solitude because she felt her forces diminishing. Nevertheless, she served as receptionist with Catholic Charities serving people in difficulty. Cecile enjoyed this immensely.
Generous by nature, Cecile maintained her relations with those at a distance through the telephone and her pen and pencil. When she was working with the young folks, Cecile learned to play guitar and animated choirs and liturgical celebrations in her various parishes. Cecile loved to laugh, to play cards, to celebrate. She enjoyed all that was good and even cooked and hosted celebrations at the rectory. She was always interested in the events of the world and the Church.
Following two hospitalizations for lung problems, Cecile remained in her first-floor bedroom at Notre Dame de la Solitude. On Monday, July 20, she experienced a sudden attack after breakfast and, in the presence of one of the sisters and a staff member, Cecile went peacefully home to God. She was in her 96th year of life and her 74th year as a religious. Her funeral liturgy was celebrated by Fr. Jean-Louis Germon from Le Lude on Thursday, July 23 in the Solitude chapel. In his homily, Father used a text from Job and commented that, like Job, Cecile had moments of doubt and revolt, but like him also, she remained “attached to her Lord.” Faithful to the Holy Spirit who had called her so many years ago in the chapel of the Clinic, during the last years of her life; it was this fidelity that sustained Cecile in the most difficult moments. “Today like Job and St. Paul, she has made that final journey to eternal life.”
Cecile’s body now rests in Holy Cross Cemetery in Le Mans. Lord, give her your peace and your joy in her eternal rest.