Soeur Raymonde Castignola, MSC
Sister Raymonde Castignola was born in Paris on August 14, 1924, daughter of Antoine Castignola and Catherine Intivili. She was the oldest child of three children. She was baptized on September 21, 1924. Due to health issues requiring a time of rest, she was introduced to the Marianites of Holy Cross as a patient of the Préventorium in Précigné, France. She came to know the sisters by the care and concern that they showed for the residents and in time she asked to enter the congregation desiring to become a sister.
Sister Raymonde was admitted to the postulancy, at the Mother House in Précigné on September 10, 1947. After two years in the novitiate, she pronounced her temporary vows on September 15, 1948. She made her perpetual profession on October 23, 1951. Sister Raymonde then began her “active” life in the Congregation. Between 1949 and 1951, she was a student at Beaumont sur Sarthe. She then began to work in the Préventorium office. Her next responsibility was coordinating a sewing workshop at the technical school in Laval.
In September 1959, she was appointed superior of the Préventorium of Précigné, which she directed from a civil and religious perspective. This important position was the beginning of a ministry that she would continue for many years. She was also selected to be the superior of the local Marianite community of 15 sisters. Under her direction, the establishment experienced many transformations.
In 1971 and 1972, with the tuberculosis epidemic coming to an end the number of children needing care became considerably fewer and a new ministry for the facility became necessary. She put forth courage, expertise and know-how so that the Préventorium moved forward. The work underwent a major conversion that lasted for several years. In 1978, the name “Préventorium of Précigné” changed to “Medical Center Eugène Plaisant” becoming a place for people in need of psychiatric care. From 1982 to 1986, members of the staff successfully became licensed and the facility accredited. 1986 marked the opening of a specialized home for youth and adults, aged 16 to 60 years of age, suffering from serious mental health issues. By 1992, the center opened an occupational unit and a gerontology psychiatric unit.
In 2007, the center is named “Medico-Social Centre Basile Moreau”. During all these transformations that demanded courage, bravery and tenacity, Sister Raymonde never became discouraged. She always had great confidence in her friend and treasurer “Saint Joseph” to whom she prayed with great fervor daily. He always responded favorably. Assisting her to make such great progress were many competent people, who understood her commitments to renovate the Préventorium Medico-Social Center. Some of her companions included Mr. Joel le Theule, Deputy, Mr. Guy D’Ussel, Mayor of Précigné and Mr. Francois Fillon, President of the departmental council of the Sarthe Region.
In April 1998, Mr. Guy D’Ussel awarded Sr. Raymonde the Legion of Honor as a Knight. In 2004, Mr. Francois awarded her the Officer Cross of the Legion of Honor. Sister Raymonde did not draw any personal glory; she attributed the honors to Saint Joseph, her Faithful Friend.
We will not fail to emphasize her dedication and love for taking care of Sonia at the center when she arrived at the age of only 3 months. Sister Raymonde retired as directress of the center after hiring a director to succeed her. In 2015, she joined faithful Marianite sister friend, Sr. Rolande, in Saint Joseph’s Retirement Center. In 2016, she found herself the only Marianite in Précigné, after the death of Sister Rolande. She became part of a community with Sisters Jacqueline and Therese by telephone each evening, and by frequent visits. She was happy to participate in this long distance community assured of daily prayers and sisterly support. Sister Raymonde lived her retirement peacefully. After years of intense activity, she devoted herself to prayer and contemplation. Sister Raymonde’s earthly life ended on July 9, 2019. Her funeral liturgy took place on July 12, 2019 at the parish church of Précigné with the attendance of 300 people. Sister Raymonde rests in the Précigné cemetery. May she rest in God’s presence in peace!