Sister Cor Mariae Foley, MSC
Sister Cor Mariae Foley, MSC
On June 13, 2013, only minutes after her arrival home from a brief stay at Opelousas General Hospital, Sr. Cor Mariae Foley went home to the God she loved so much. “Cor”, as everyone called her, had been growing thinner and weaker in the weeks prior to her death, but whenever anyone inquired about her health; she would smile and respond with an “A-okay” sign. The realization that she was not really “A-okay” caused her to be admitted to the hospital. Her organs began to shut down and she was totally unable to swallow. The doctors did all they could but it was time to let her go home.
The youngest of seven children born to Albert Sydney and Gertrude Mayor Foley on May 8, 1924, she was baptized Zita Foley and was the last of the Foley clan to die. She was preceded in death by her parents, her stepmother Hilda, and all of her siblings, including her Marianite sister, Sr. Alberta Foley. “Cor” is survived by two sisters-in-law and numerous nieces and nephews.
Educated by the Marianites at Holy Angels Academy, Zita entered the community on August 31, 1942, pronounced temporary vows on August 11, 1943, and made final profession on August 11, 1946.
As most Marianites, Sister’s first ministry was elementary education, and she taught grammar school at St. Joseph, Algiers; St. Mary of the Angels, New Orleans; St. Charles, Lake Charles; Holy Name of Mary, Algiers; St. Francis de Sales, Houma; St. John, Franklin; St. Alphonsus, Ocean Springs; St. Christopher, Metairie; and Immaculate Conception School, Laurel, Mississippi.
Sr. Madeleine Sophie recalled: “When I became principal of St. Mary of the Angels in 1946, Cor Mariae was the first kindergarten teacher who worked under me. She was twenty-two years old, enthusiastic, gentle, and she worked miracles with the 130 children she had in her kindergarten class.”
From 1962 – 1965, “Cor” was principal of St. Margaret’s School in Lake Charles, and later of St. Francis de Sales School in Houma. Following some time in secondary education at Central Catholic High School in Morgan City, Sister’s training and experience led her into a career of pastoral ministry. She began as parish visitor in Morgan City’s Holy Cross Parish and gave missions and retreats to a number of people. She was also a revered spiritual director to both religious and laity.
For several years, “ Cor” worked as organizer/co-pastor for the diocese of Lafayette in the building and planning of St. Maurice Parish in New Iberia. She then spent ten years at St. Mary’s Assumption Parish in Cottonport and five years in St. Michael’s Parish, Crowley. When she left Crowley, “Cor “moved into C’est la Vie Independent Living Center in Opelousas where she remained until her health forced her to move into Prompt Succor Nursing Home.
A gifted artist and sculptor, her works of art are on display in several Marianite convents and places of interest. She was especially proud of the painting she did of Pope Pius Xll. She had the privilege of presenting the painting to him as her gift from the Marianites to Pope Pius XII in the 1950s.
Through her varied life experiences, Sr. Cor Mariae brought her deep faith life and prayerful presence to each person she met. Her love and appreciation of others were rewarded by family and friends who were faithful in visiting her to the end.
At the wake and funeral which celebrated her life on Monday, June 17, several people gave personal testimony to how ”Cor” had touched them. One of the gentlemen who spoke said of her, “She was somebody who could manipulate you into working on her latest project and make you like it.” Msgr. Romero told of collaborating with her on the New Iberia parish development: “Her relationship with God was always so strong that I know she prays for us from her vantage point in heaven.” Many sisters recounted that on their feast days they could expect a personal phone call or card and sometimes a little song followed.
“Cor’s” biggest cross was her deafness, but that did not keep her from enjoying others. Those who lived with Cor at the nursing home were well aware of how much she appreciated the staff and personnel. She was often heard asking the person pushing her wheelchair, “And who is the angel who is caring for me today?”
On June 17, 2014, following the funeral Mass, Sr. Cor Mariae’s body was buried in the Marianite plot at St. Landry Cemetery in Opelousas.
May her soul rest in peace!