Sister Marie Rolande Rousseau, MSC
1925 - 2016
Sr. Marie Rolande Rousseau was born in La-Chapelle-au-Riboul (Mayenne) on July 7, 1925, the only daughter of Louis Rousseau and Armandine André. Because her mother was seriously ill, Rolande was raised by her maternal grandmother until her father remarried. When a sister was born, Rolande was sent to boarding school. When she grew up, she worked as an aide in the hospital at Précigné where she met Sr. Raymonde Castignola with whom she became lifelong friends. Together they served the poor and manifested a desire to enter the Marianites of Holy Cross. This they did on March 19, 1947. They received the habit and began their novitiate on September 15, 1947, pronounced first vows on March 19, 1949 and final vows on May 6, 1950. The two unconditional friends were “sisters” and Sr. Raymonde assisted Rolande until her last breath on March 17, 2016.
In 1949, Sr. Rolande went to St. Joseph Clinic in Le Mans to study and get her state diploma in nursing. She followed courses at the nursing school in the Le Mans Hospital and graduated in 1951.
Thus began a long and successful career. Sister moved from being a nurse in the operating room at St. Joseph Clinic (1951 – 1952) to St. Pierre Fourier Clinic in Epinal (1952 – 1955) to the Clinique Notre Dame in Vire (1955 – 1961). Following these changes, Sister experienced stability in the works at Précigné. For fifty-five years, Rolande served
with tireless dedication and witnessed God’s mercy for all, especially the most diminished.
At the Préventorium of Précigné, Sister was successively in charge of the laboratory, the pharmacy, and the radiology lab until 1980. Since tuberculosis was no longer prevalent, the Préventorium became Eugene Plaisant Medical Center. Sister was then appointed general supervisor and nurse of the new facility. She continued this heavy task which included answering the night calls of the staff until 1995 when she finally ended this activity.
Responding to these calls had been Sr. Rolande’s choice; she was always attentive to the personnel and ready to assist in any way possible. She knew her sick and knew how to reassure them with appropriate words. She was joyful with everyone and had a gift for listening to others. Sr. Raymonde said of her, “She was a very assured diagnostician which meant that the doctors had total confidence in her.”
Sister was able, throughout her career, to put into practice the mercy of Christ by both her gestures and her words, in particular toward the weakest whom she loved so much. Taking her place in the midst of her sisters in community, Rolande would amuse them with stories which only she could tell. She cherished her sisters in France and in America and the Congregation meant the world to her. Participating in its meetings and celebrations filled her heart with joy.
Sr. Rolande was deeply religious. She was strict with herself about her prayer life and fulfilled her obligations despite her numerous responsibilities. She also had a great devotion to our Blessed Lady.
When Rolande reached 70 years of age, Sr. Raymonde asked her to give up night duty. She did so, but both she and Raymonde continued to work until the beginning of the year 2000. In 2013. Sr. Rolande moved to the retirement home St. Joseph at Précigné where Sr. Raymonde joined her in September 2015.
Sr. Raymonde declared, “Sr. Rolande was a support, the one to whom I could confide anything, with whom I could share everything, especially my worries and preoccupations which she would help me solve or resolve.
After the Lord had called her home on March 17, 2016, Sister had a beautiful funeral Mass celebrated by Fr. Jean-Marc André, CSC, who knew her well. The chapel was filled with her former co-workers, friends and several of her Marianite sisters.
All who had known Sr. Rolande approved what the local newspaper said about her, “Her malicious smile, her good humor and her presence are already lacking to us.”
Sr. Rolande’s body rests in the space reserved for the Marianites in the cemetery of Précigné. May she rest in peace!