Sr. Evelyn Eason
1920 – 2011
Evelyn Eason was born on August 12, 1920 in the city of New Orleans. Her parents were Julia Ferretti and Robert Eason. She had two brothers, Paul and Claude Eason, and one sister, Eleanor Batistella, all of whom preceded Evelyn in death. They grew up in a small town in north Louisiana and Evelyn loved to tell stories about their childhood in the “country.”
After finishing high school at Holy Angels Academy in New Orleans, Evelyn entered the Marianites of Holy Cross on September 2, 1939. At her reception of the habit in 1940, Evelyn was given the name Sr. Mary of St. Simeon. She pronounced first vows on August 12, 1941 and perpetual vows on August 12, 1944.
As an elementary school teacher, Sr. Simeon ministered at St. Basil, Plaquemine; St. Francis de Sales, Houma; Sacred Heart, Ville Platte; St. Charles, Lake Charles; and at St. Mary of the Angels, Holy Name of Mary, and Incarnate Word, New Orleans. She then taught high school in Ville Platte, New Orleans, and Eunice.
From 1968 to 1982, Evelyn served as librarian and history teacher at Our Lady of Holy Cross College in New Orleans. Always having a special place in her heart for boys, the last ten years of her active ministry were spent teaching at Hope Haven and Madonna Manor in Marrero, Louisiana. There Evelyn became a sort of “foster mother” to the troubled youngsters she taught, and at holiday time, her boys were often invited to celebrate with the Marianites at Our Lady of Holy Cross Convent.
Although short in stature, Sister had a feisty personality which gave her indomitable energy to get things done the way she wanted them done. Believing in the importance and power of teaching, she passionately encouraged and diligently worked with students at all levels to assist them to achieve their educational goals. Even at the end of her life, Evelyn was still receiving visits, cards and notes from former students.
Charitable and generous to the poor, Sr. Evelyn was one of the first Marianites to welcome the Vietnamese refugees to New Orleans in the 1970s, and she remained very close to her “adopted” Vietnamese family who lived in the Vietnamese village near Our Lady of Holy Cross.
After Sister finally retired, she spent eight years at Our Lady of Holy Cross Convent, two at St. Joseph Convent, two at Prompt Succor Convent and her last three years as a resident at Prompt Succor Nursing Home in Opelousas.
Faithful to daily Mass, Evelyn was one of the first in the chapel each morning. With whoever would listen, she shared her love of St. Brother Andre Bessette, CSC, and her devotion to Notre Dame University and its “Fighting Irish” football team. She also loved to speak about her travels with her dear friends, Sr. Theresa MacDonald and Sr. Rose Elizabeth Brown. Her summers in Boston (Sr. Theresa’s hometown) and at Notre Dame (Rose Elizabeth’s alma mater) never lost their fascination for her.
Sister’s physical condition began to deteriorate in late 2010; complications from diabetes and blocked blood vessels in her legs sent her to Opelousas General Hospital where attempts to clear her circulation failed. She returned to Prompt Succor on January 31 where she was on hospice until her death on February 15, 2011. She slipped peacefully into eternal life with her Marianite sisters praying at her bedside.
The Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated in the chapel of the nursing home on February 17. Several of her relatives, friends and former students were there to bid Evelyn farewell. At t he end of the liturgy, stories were shared and memories exchanged. The next morning, Sister’s body was brought to be buried in the Marianite mausoleum at Our Lady of Holy Cross in New Orleans. Again a number of people were present to share their own tales of Sister and how she had touched their lives.
May Sister Evelyn’s soul rest in peace!