Sister Germaine went peacefully home to her Good God on July 6, 2020, supported in prayer by her devoted Sisters in Community at the Notre Dame Convent at Ipswich, MA, by the dedicated staff of the St. Julie Billiart Residential Care Center, and by her loving family and friends.
She was born Doris Simone Loiselle on June 24, 1922, in the Pawtucketville neighborhood of Lowell, MA, the area known as "Little France." She was the youngest of three children born to her father Herve of Lowell, and her mother Germaine (Mitron), of Montreal, Canada. Both parents worked hard to instill traditional values in each of their children, including her brothers Herve, Jr. and Lucien, who later became a Catholic priest.
After graduating from Notre Dame Academy in Tyngsboro, Sr. Germaine entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur at Waltham in August of 1940, making her perpetual vows in 1948. She began by teaching elementary students in West Newton and Cambridge, before being missioned to teach in Notre Dame high schools in South Boston, Peabody, Waltham, and Hingham, teaching French, English, and Religious Studies. As much as her high school students loved and respected her, Sister always said that her greatest joy was teaching First Communion classes to the first and second graders. Her students remember her as firm, fair, unfailingly kind, and always with a twinkle in her eye.
An avid student herself, Sister Germaine earned her BA at Emmanuel College, as well as an MA in French from Assumption College and a second MA from Emmanuel in Religious Studies. All her life she was a tremendous reader of books on Spirituality, which broadened her own deep and prayerful life of faith, while expanding her theological horizons.
Her gifts as a seamstress were just as generously bestowed on the Sisters of Notre Dame at Ipswich when Sr. Germaine retired there in 1994. She set up a sewing room; soon everyone in the house knew she would be only too willing to do any type of tailoring, alterations, or repairs.
Rather than looking for any thanks for herself, Sr. Germaine began another ministry: writing thank-you notes to all and sundry, for even the smallest gift or favor. She always made it a point to compliment and magnify the works of others. Her heart overflowed with love and gratitude. Her favorite word, and highest compliment, was "Beautiful!"
Well into her nineties, Sr. Germaine conducted French lessons for Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur working in international ministries. From her earliest students to her last and dearest friends, Sr. Germaine was known as a prayerful, gentle, highly principled woman: a Sister of deep faith who quietly served as a shining example to everyone she met. She wished to be remembered as a "good and faithful servant" of the founder of the Sisters of Notre Dame, St. Julie Billiart. And that she certainly was to the end.
To her own family, Sr. Germaine was known as Aunt Doris, admired for her strong will, independence and determination. As a missionary, she truly had a "heart as wide as the world." They marveled at the courage it must have taken for her to leave the life she had known in the cities and towns of New England, to serve for so long in the villages of Africa. Her relatives knew how much she had sacrificed by doing so. She loved and missed her favorite things: their family gatherings, banana splits, and sunflowers – one of the symbols of the Sisters of Notre Dame.
Sr. Germaine Loiselle was predeceased by her parents, Herve J. Loiselle, Sr., and Germaine (Mitron) Loiselle, by her two brothers, Rev. Lucien H. Loiselle and Herve J. Loiselle, Jr., and her sister-in-law Estelle C. Loiselle. She will be greatly missed by her niece Monique and her husband Allen Garrell of Pelham, NH, her nephew Pierre Loiselle of Winston-Salem, NC, her two grandnieces, Kristen and Elizabeth Loiselle, and a special grandnephew, Daniel Bishop of Manchester, CT. Sr. Germaine also leaves her loving "extended family:" Brenda DeLappe, Alesia and Jason Theriault, and Jordon Murdoch. Also her present and former Sisters in Community, the wider Notre Dame Community, and generations of former students, here and abroad.
Sister is interred at the Notre Dame cemetery at Ipswich.
To make a memorial contribution to the Sisters in Sr. Germaine's name, click here, or send to Memorial donations to the Sisters of Notre Dame, 30 Jeffreys Neck Road, Ipswich, MA 01938.
Sister Germaine's 80th Jubilee Reflection
“Ah, how good is the good God!” – St. Julie Billiart
“Suffer the little children to come unto me…” – Matthew 19:14
Sister Germaine Loiselle was born Doris Simone Loisell in Lowell, MA on June 24, 1922. Her parents were Herve and Germaine (Miltron) Loiselle, and one of her earliest memories is of a day when her father was caring for her while her mother was out, and he sat with the children at their toy table and served them their first cup of tea.
Sister entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 1940, took her first vows in 1943 and made her perpetual vows in 1948. In all of her ministries, Sr. Germaine was a high school teacher of French.
“I always wanted to become a Sister,” says Sr. Germaine. “My favorite years were those spent in the Congo. I wanted the girls to appreciate our support system and the vibrant community and prayer life we experienced.”
Reflecting on life during her 80th Jubilee year, at age 97, she said, “Even in this time of the pandemic, efforts are made to bring us knowledge of worldwide happenings, so we are aware and also kept alert and entertained. I would like all the girls to know how great it is to be a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur!”
Sister Germaine died on July 6, 2020.
Sr. Germaine's Ministries
1943 St. Bernard High School, West Newton, MA
1943-46, Blessed Sacrament High School, Cambridge, MA
1946-55 Cardinal Cushing Central High School, South Boston, MA
1955-59 St John High School, Peabody, MA
1959-1970, St. Mary High School, Waltham, MA
1970-1972 Notre Dame Academy, Hingham, MA
1972-1994 Congo, Africa. (Principal and French Teacher)
Service to the Sisters
1996 Sacristan at Ipswich, MA