Sister Thelma's Story

BIDDEFORD - Sister Thelma Bouchard went home to her Loving God on December 16 2015. Sister Thelma, a native of Frenchville, Maine, was born on June 1, 1929, to Charles Bouchard and Yvonne (Ouellette) Bouchard. She is the third oldest of seven girls.

Upon completion of her elementary school in Frenchville, Sister Thelma attended Madawaska High School for one year. It was on February 11, 1947, that she entered the Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Rimouski, P.Q., Canada. With her first profession on August 15, 1949, she accepted to follow in the footsteps of Blessed Elisabeth Turgeon, the community's foundress, by dedicating herself to the Mission of Christian Education.

Sister Thelma initiated her teaching career at the Indian Day School in Restigouche, P.Q. the next year she returned to the United States to teach in Frenchville, Millinocket, Biddeford, Sanford, Johnson, RI and Plattsburgh, NY. Sister has been involved in education for more than 35 years.

After her teaching ministry she moved to Portland guided a group of young adults, accompanied persons with AIDS, established the Elisabeth Turgeon Ministries to reach out to those in need and extended that ministry to Mexican migrant workers in Ruskin, Florida.

Sister Thelma is especially remembered for her gentle loving presence, listening heart, her encouraging often challenging word and her advocacy and love for the poor.

Besides her Bachelor of Arts in Education from Rivier College, Nashua, NH, Sister Thelma possesses a diploma in Early Childhood Education from Laval University, Quebec, P.Q., a year of professional training in pastoral ministry with a diploma in Pastoral Care of the Family from St. Paul's University, Ottawa, Ontario, and a year of Personal and Spiritual Renewal with a diploma from the Oblates at the Galilee Community in Arnprior, Ontario.

Sister Thelma also followed and completed enrichment and non-degree programs at the University of Maine in Fort Kent, Orono, and Southern Maine; Mcgill University, Montreal; Villa Maria, Winnipeg, Manitoba; University of Fairfield in CT; University of NY in Plattsburgh, NY.

Sister Thelma is predeceased by her parents and her sister Claudette. She leaves behind her sisters: Bernice, Candide, Yvette, Fernande and Simone, brothers-in-Iaw, several nieces and nephews as well as her Sisters in Community.

Sister Thelma will be waked at St. Joseph Convent, 409 Pool Street, Biddeford, ME on Friday, December 18th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, December 19th, 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. The Mass of Christian Burial will also be held at St. Joseph Convent on Saturday, December 19th at 11 :00 a.m. Burial will be at St. Joseph Cemetery, Biddeford, ME at a later date.

Donations in her memory may be made to: The Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, 25 Portland Avenue, Old Orchard Beach, ME 04064-2211.
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