Sister Rita Hardy, MSC
1923 – 2011
Sister Rita Hardy was born on December 22, 1923, in Arnaudville, Louisiana. The eleventh of twelve children born to Humene Hardy of Arnaudville and Adelaide Pelafigue of Beaucens, France, Rita entered the novitiate of the Marianites of Holy Cross in New Orleans on September 8, 1940. When she received the holy habit the following year, she was given the name Sr. Mary Alfred.
Sister pronounced temporary vows on August 11, 1942, and made perpetual profession on August 11, 1945. As an elementary school teacher, Sister Alfred taught at St. Rita, Incarnate Word, and Holy Name of Mary in New Orleans; at St. Alphonsus, Ocean Springs; and in Houma, Opelousas, Eunice, Lake Charles, Franklin, Ville Platte, and her home town of Arnaudville.
Sister rendered community service at Our Lady of Holy Cross Convent in New Orleans; at Notre Dame de la Solitude in Le Mans, France; at Our Lady of Princeton Convent in Princeton, New Jersey; and in pastoral ministry at Prompt Succor Nursing Home in Opelousas. Each of her ministries was marked by her generosity, thoughtfulness, and kindness. While ministering in France she was able to visit Beaucens, France (the birthplace of her mother) and to meet many of her relatives in that region.
In the summer of 1994, Sr. Rita Hardy arrived at Prompt Succor Nursing Home along with Sr. Joan Barry, Sr. Audrey Fontenot, Sr. Zita Guidry, and Sr. Regina Nunez. For many years these Marianites were the leaders in promoting a cohesive network of compassion and caring at Prompt Succor. When Sr. Rita herself became a resident of the nursing home, her warm and winning smile continued to brighten the days of all who crossed her path.
Bringing with her to Prompt Succor a wealth of knowledge of the Marianites as well as her organizational skills and generous spirit, Sr. Rita quickly became the person to ask if there was a question about when something occurred; or when it was due; or where it could be found. Long before GPS, she was the key for directions on how to drive anywhere in Southwest Louisiana. With her detailed instructions, Rita joyfully shared a bit of history and a cultural lesson specific to the area.
On July 21st, 2011, Sr. Rita made her final journey home and this time it was the Lord who gave the directions and led the way. Her wake and funeral took place on July 25 in the presence of a large number of family and friends who shared their memories of how Sister had touched their lives. The Mass was concelebrated by Msgr. Louis Melancon, Msgr. Bob Angelle, Fr. Gary Schexnayder and a cousin of Sister Rita.
Rita was preceded in death by ten of her siblings; she is survived by her sister, Annie Calais, and by numerous nieces, nephews, and their families. Ever faithful to her dedication to the Marianites, to her family and friends, she will be lovingly remembered for her gentleness, caring and compassion which endeared her to the many lives she touched and inspired through the years.
Following the funeral Mass, Sister Rita’s body was laid to rest in St. Landry Cemetery, Opelousas, Louisiana. Now, as Sr. Rita enjoys resurrected new life, we ask her to intercede for us, to continue to encourage and support us as we are also led gently and kindly into the arms of our loving God.
May Sister Rita’s soul rest in peace!