Yvonne Guene was born on October 30, 1914 at Rétiers in Ille et Vilaine (France). She was born into a family of twelve children, six boys and six girls. Yvonne was the sixth of the children born to her parents and spent several years helping out at home. After prayer and reflection on her future, she entered the postulancy of the Marianites at Précigné on September 29, 1936, a month prior to her thirty-second birthday.
On April 14, 1937, Yvonne received the habit and the name Sr. Mary of St. Yves; she chose May 19 as her feast day. Following a year of novitiate, she pronounced temporary vows on April 17, 1938, and made her perpetual profession on August 16, 1941, at the motherhouse in Précigné. Following the chapter of aggiornamento, she took the name Sr. Yves-Marie.
In 1938, Sister began her mission as a nurses’ aide at the Clinique St. Michel in Angers.
From 1939 to 1942, she studied for her nursing diploma at St. Joseph Clinic in Le Mans.
She then served as a nurse in our various clinics of Epinal, Lisieux, and the Préventorium of Précigné. For ten years at the Marianite Clinic in Le Mans, she worked in the medical records office and eventually took charge of it.
It was in 1959 that Yves-Marie became part of the local community of St. Bertrand in Le Mans where she shared in parish activities. At the end of that year, she helped in caring for convalescents at the Prieuré in Pontvallain; she ended up being in charge of the office there until 1965.
From 1965 to 1972, Sister helped out wherever she could at the Clinique St. Pierre Fourier at Epinal; she was quickly put in charge of the admissions office.
Beginning in 1972, Yves-Marie began her long stay at Andouillé in the Mayenne, first as a nurse at the school I.M.Pro. In 1976, she began participating actively in the senior citizens club. She thus became a “Church presence” in the neighborhood – at the club, by her visits to the elderly in their homes, and by her own availability and welcoming presence in her local community.
Several folks in Andouillé professed their gratitude for Sister:
“Sister knew how to transmit tenderness and kindness to others. She loved to help and often served as nursemaid to her friends’ babies and small children, especially to young parents who were in difficulty.” Jovial and young at heart, Sister was much appreciated in the various Andouillé clubs to which she belonged – library, senior citizens, choir, etc. Her relationships were full of pleasure and simplicity and she always spoke the truth in her dealings with others. “We loved to meet her, to discuss, tease and laugh with her. We felt her joy at life and her openness to what others were living.”
This pleasure was also felt among her Marianite sisters during community gatherings at the Solitude where Yves-Marie would disguise herself, animate little skits with others, and provide a good time for all.
When, in 2005, a brain bleed made Sister totally dependent on care, she was admitted to a wing of the hospital in Laval, Rocher Fleuri, which offered long-term care. Faithfully, each week, Fr. Lehagre accompanied Sr. Yves-Marie during six and a half years. Her health deteriorated progressively and it became more and more difficult for Sister to express herself.
Her Marianites visited each week, some when they passed through Laval, others on their way to Pontmain or to Normandy. Sister was interested in the news of all her sisters and asked about any whom the visitors may have forgotten to mention. She followed the life of the community and the celebrations at the Solitude. Even without being able to discuss these things, one could sense her interest and her listening. Her friends from Andouillé tried to visit her often to make her life easier and to bring a ray of sunshine by recalling certain good times from the past.
In 2011, Sister celebrated with great joy her 75 years of religious life at the Solitude along with her sister jubilarians of that year. She then made the pilgrimage of the sick of Mayenne to Lourdes. These were her last great joys.
After so many years lived generously, the Lord called Sister Yves-Marie to himself on October 21, 2011. Her funeral celebration took place in the parish church of Andouillé on October 24. Present were Fathers Lehagre, Fr. Proust from Holy Cross, several of her Marianite sisters, nieces, nephews, and numerous friends. Her body was interred that same day in Holy Cross Cemetery in Le Mans.
May Sr. Yves-Marie’s soul rest in peace!