Sister Mary Philip Schexnayder
1916 – 2011
Sister Mary Philip was born Clarisse Schexnayder on October 14, 1916. She was the daughter of Adonis Schexnayder and Laura Waguespack Schexnayder of Vacherie, Louisiana. One of eight children, Clarisse entered the novitiate of the Marianites of Holy Cross in New Orleans on September 4, 1937. When she received the holy habit, Clarisse was given the name Sr. Mary Philip, a name she kept until her death on June 18, 2011.
Sister pronounced her first vows on August 11, 1939, and made perpetual profession on August 11, 1943. As an elementary school teacher, Sr. Philip taught at St. Francis de Sales, Houma; Holy Angels, Sts. Peter and Paul, and Holy Name of Mary in New Orleans. When she moved to secondary education, she taught at St. Francis de Sales for two years, at Archbishop Blenk in Gretna for twelve years, at St. Charles in Lake Charles for five years, and at St. Edmund in Eunice for seventeen years.
A French teacher who was very involved in the CODOFIL (Council for the Development of French in Louisiana) program, Sister accompanied several groups of students to France and loved to recount tales of her travels and adventures there. She also taught French at Our Lady of Holy Cross College and did some translation during Marianite general chapters.
After retiring, Sr. Philip spent almost ten years at St. Joseph Convent in community service and prayer. A good cook, Philip enjoyed making tea cookies and various other treats for the sisters and friends. She also delighted in driving or accompanying groups of her sisters to visit her brothers in Vacherie. They never returned home without bags and baskets of various fruits which grew on the Schexnayder property.
In 2004 Sister became a resident at Prompt Succor Nursing Home where she spent her remaining years. But she didn’t spend them quietly. She went with groups from the nursing home to the nearby casino, participated in every Bingo game available and loved her morning coffee with the other residents.
A well-loved resident of Prompt Succor, Philip enjoyed speaking French both with the other residents and with visitors; she charmed many with her stories. At the monthly birthday parties, when the music started, Sr. Philip was one of the first to get up and dance.
Following a brief stay at Opelousas General Hospital in early 2011, Sister returned to Prompt Succor on Hospice. Her vivacity and love for life declined rapidly and she finally went home to God on June 18, 2011. Preceded in death by her parents and five of her siblings, Sister’s two surviving sisters, Margaret and Rose were present at her wake service and funeral Mass on June 23. Sister Philip’s younger sister, Margaret, spoke of how close she and Sr. Philip had been and how they enjoyed reminiscing when they visited and Margaret would put a wave in Sister’s hair.
Following the funeral Mass, Sister Philip’s body was laid to rest in St. Landry Cemetery, Opelousas, Louisiana. May her soul rest in peace!