Léa Come was born at Bazougers, a village in the Mayenne, on March 13, 1925, into a family of four daughters, of two sets of twins. Léa remained very close to her twin sister, Andrée, until her death.
Léa entered the postulancy of the Marianites at the motherhouse in Précigné on September 7, 1948. At the reception of the habit on March 19, 1949, she received the name Sister Mary of St. Norbert. Sister pronounced her temporary vows on September 4, 1950. She was sent to Felix Marchais Orphanage in Andouillé to be supervisor of the children and to assist in housekeeping for three years.
In 1953, Sr. Norbert returned to the Sarthe to St. Joseph School in Précigné to supervise the children and to work in the canteen. Then in 1956 she went back to Andouillé to render those same services at the orphanage. She was given, in 1969, charge of the kitchen in the same establishment which in 1970 was renamed IMPRO.
A new orientation directed Léa in 1971 to a totally different ministry and community life. It was at Dinan, in the department of Cotes du Nord, that Léa ministered in the juniorate of the Fathers and Brothers of Holy Cross, doing the interior services of this house. From 1971 until 1977, Léa was part of the community that was the dream of our Founder to live the spirit of the family of Holy Cross: Priests, Brothers, and Sisters. At Dinan, Léa worked with Sr. Christiane L’hommelet so closely and fraternally that a friendship was formed which lasted all their lives in the various obediences they shared. Each one helped the other, especially when Léa became more and more visually impaired.
At Léa’s funeral Mass, Father Lesacher, recalling this epoch when he lived with Léa and Christiane at Dinan, cited three traits that he retained of this “little sister.” She was merry, gay, and always happy. She loved to sing and remembered the words to every possible song, especially those from Brittany which she had learned simply from hearing them. She was devoted in all simplicity and available to do even the most menial tasks around the house. Although handicapped, she generously accepted her limited vision even if it frustrated her when she knew that services were needed which she could no longer do!! In August 1977, Léa joined the community at the motherhouse of the Solitude in Le Mans. She shared the work of the guest house and also taught catechism to the neighborhood children with Sr. Christiane. With joy and caring, they welcomed groups who came for Confirmation retreats.
They participated with pleasure in the days of recollection for the “Aides aux Pretres” (Assistants to the Priests) and they helped out with the workers of the construction company who sometimes came to the Solitude. They neglected nothing to give a warm welcome to all Holy Cross groups that came to the Solitude. Their joyous and simple hospitality warmed the hearts of all whose paths they crossed. For several years, Léa shared community life with her Marianite sisters in the community Blaise Pascal while participating in parish activities at Holy Cross.
In 2004, failing health forced Léa to join the community of our senior sisters at the Solitude. In May of 2005, her doctors directed Léa to a specialized dementia unit at the Basile Moreau Center at Précigné. Despite everything, Léa never complained of her blindness; she spent much of her time in the chapel and could be heard singing joyously wherever she happened to pass.
Léa allowed herself to be led with pleasure to activities and enjoyed shopping at Leclerc Center, especially at holiday time when the Christmas lights and music transported her to new worlds well beyond the confines of the store. She loved the activities proposed to her and knew how to put joy into all she could for as long as she could.
In March 2012, Sister was hospitalized in Bailleul; the sisters of Précigné accompanied her all during her stay there. Sr. Léa went home to God on March 21, 2012, at the age of 87 and in the 62nd year of her religious life. Her funeral celebration was concelebrated by several Holy Cross priests and the chaplain in the chapel of Basile Moreau Medical Center at Précigné on March 23, 2012. Several sisters from Le Mans and Parcé, members of her family and friends from the Medical Center accompanied Léa’s body to the parish cemetery in Précigné.
May her soul rest in peace and in the joy of the Risen Christ.