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Monday 21 January 2019
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A call to serve

Sr Marie Thérèse, 96, tells story of Dominican Sisters

Sr Marie Thérèse Rétout OP with a copy of her book Called to Serve which tells the story of the Dominican Sisters of St Catherine of Siena in TT. PHOTO BY AZLAN MOHAMMED
Sr Marie Thérèse Rétout OP with a copy of her book Called to Serve which tells the story of the Dominican Sisters of St Catherine of Siena in TT. PHOTO BY AZLAN MOHAMMED

Called to Serve is the story of the Dominican Sisters of St Catherine of Siena in TT.

The book is a story rather than bland facts and information. The writing style and flow of the book brings to life the devotion, sacrifice, and trials 150 years of unbroken service while revealing the history of the country and various aspects of life through the activities of the sisters.

Called to Serve, written by Sr Marie Thérèse Rétout OP, was launched yesterday morning at the Holy Name Convent Chapel, Port of Spain. The book, a third revised edition, was a record of the history of the Order from 1868, when the first sisters arrived in Trinidad, to 2018. It was also part of the year-long celebration of the congregation in TT.

Sr Marie Thérèse Rétout reads from her book Called to Serve: A history of the Order of the Dominican Sisters of St Catherine of Siena in TT, 1868-2018, to Holy Name Convent sixth form students Keriese Franklyn, left, and Sarah Ross, at Holy Name Convent Chapel yesterday. PHOTOS BY AZLAN MOHAMMED

Born in Chalône-Sur Saone, France, Sr Marie Thérèse, 96, arrived in Trinidad in 1952. She spent 22 years educating children at the St Dominic’s Children’s Home, 19 years as a reporter and feature writer with the Catholic News, two years at the Vatican Embassy, and filled several other positions within the Order. She has also been the Archivist of the Dominican Sisters for the past 24 years.

Sr Marie Thérèse also shared her story with those present. She told of the loss of her family, the outbreak of the Second World War, her suffering at the time, joining the Dominican Sisters of St Catherine of Siena, her fear that she would never see France again, and her arrival in Trinidad.

Speaking at the launch, Dean of Form VI at Holy Name, Sr Renee Hall, said, “Sr Marie Thérèse is indefatigable, formidable, and invincible. She has been gifted with a sharp mind, a tremendous capacity to recall events that took place over the years, she has formed many significant relationships and friendships to which many of us present can attest.... Her age and minor ailments do not deter her but she continues to put herself at the service of the Kingdom. She prays ceaselessly and can be found in the chapel daily spending time with Jesus and praying for our needs and the needs of the world.”

Sr Marie Thérèse used her sharp mind to conduct interviews, find documents and conduct research detailing some of the sisters lives in France and their preparation to come to Trinidad. It tells of the sisters care for the lepers in Cocorite and Chacachacare, the pain of some of the sisters dying from yellow fever and the plague, effects of the Second World War, the founding of Holy Name Convent secondary school and more.

The book will be available at Holy Name Convent, Paper Based Bookshop, and Metropolitan Book Suppliers Ltd.

 

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