Sister Rita Marie Chauvin, MSC
Sr. Rita Marie Chauvin, MSC
Sr. Rita Marie Chauvin (also known as Sr. Leocadie) was born September 26, 1924 to Columbus Chauvin (Chauvin, LA.) and Hazel LeBlanc Chauvin (Grand Caillou, LA.). One of five children, 2 boys and 3 girls, Sr. Rita Maria grew up in a loving and faith-filled family in Houma, Louisiana.
She entered the Marianites of Holy Cross September 8, 1940, pronouncing perpetual vows August 11, 1946. Sr. Rita Marie received a Master of Education degree from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio, Texas.
During her early years as a Marianite, she taught 23 years in several elementary schools in Louisiana: Academy of the Immaculate Conception (Opelousas); St. John (Plaquemine); Sacred Heart (Ville Platte); Holy Cross (Morgan City); and in New Orleans at St. Cecilia, Incarnate Word and Sts. Peter and Paul. She spent 17 years ministering as a principal at two New Orleans' elementary schools: St. Cecilia and Our Lady of Divine Providence. In 1985 the Marianites called her to community service as a driver, transporting Sisters to doctor's appointments and to wherever their needs called her to go. When she retired in 2005 she continued to reside at Our Lady of Holy Cross Convent in New Orleans until her path crossed that of Hurricane Katrina's, forcing her to flee with her Marianite companions to Opelousas and life at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Convent. Her final ministry was one of prayer and presence at Our Lady of Wisdom Health Care Center, New Orleans, from 2010 until the time of her death.
Living in New Orleans afforded her sister Hazel the opportunity to visit frequently, bearing many times a box of Popeye's fried chicken. For as long as her health permitted, she continued to follow her strict prayer schedule even after entering the heath care center, toting all her prayer books on her scooter to the chapel to pray for an hour before attending daily Mass. She firmly believed in Lubriderm as a cure for just about anything, loved the New Orleans Saints, attending many games as a guest of Mr. Benson, and like many in south Louisiana, would have eaten gumbo or fried oysters almost every day if she could have. In 2015 she celebrated joyfully her 75th Jubilee of religious life with her Marianite Sisters, family, friends and former ministry companions..
Sr. Rita Marie died on April 10, 2018 at Our Lady of Wisdom Healthcare Center.
To celebrate her life, a wake and Mass of Resurrection was held on Monday, April 16, in the chapel at Our Lady of Wisdom Healthcare Center. Sr. Rita Marie was laid to rest in the Marianite mausoleum in New Orleans, Louisiana.