Sister Marie Ann Prefontaine

"Go on moment by moment for this is the surest way of doing God's will."

-St. Julie Billiart

"I am the vine, and you are the branches. Without me, you can do nothing."

-John 15:5

Sister Marie was born and raised in Dorchester, Mass., with a younger sister and brother. She attended St. Brendan Elementary School with the Sisters of St. Joseph, and St. Gregory High School with the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. While at St. Gregory's, she enjoyed being a part of the CYO Band and had a job in the library. She also worked to help pay for her tuition, as her father was hospitalized for two years due to a severe car accident.

While attending the University of Massachusetts in Boston, Sister Marie began discerning religious life. She applied first to the Sisters of St. Joseph, only to find out they were not accepting candidates. Sister Marie believed that the hand of God then brought her to Notre Dame, and she loved that they are an international order.

Marie began her postulate with seven others at Ipswich, Mass., and her training prepared her for her future ministries. Marie’s early teaching years at Blessed Sacrament School in Cambridge, Notre Dame Academy in Tyngsboro, and St. John's in Peabody, Mass., enhanced her life as well as the lives of her students.

A new door opened for her when she became involved in Youth Ministry. She entered wholeheartedly, and through research and visiting homes and churches, she developed lifelong skills. This experience also led to her spending time in Nigeria.

Sister Marie holds a BA in Theological Studies from Emmanuel College, Boston; an MA in Religious Studies from LaSalle University, Philadelphia, Pa.; and a Licentiate of Sacred Theology from Weston Jesuit School of Theology, Cambridge, Mass.

Sister Marie Anne Prefontaine reads with a child while ministering at the US-Mexico border in 2019.

She was the Associate Director of the newly established Office for Ethnic Apostolates of the Archdiocese of Boston; founding Director of the Office for Ethnic Ministries, Worcester Diocese, and worked for U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the Office for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees in Washington, DC. These offices provided coordination for pastoral, educational and legal outreach among immigrants, refugees and migratory populations served through parishes and other Catholic institutions. A current ministry in which she serves with special pleasure is her ongoing involvement with the Irish Apostolate in the USA, of which she is the national coordinator.

Following the spirit of St. Julie, Sister Marie has throughout her life responded to the signs of our times. As she ponders her more than 50 years in Notre Dame, foremost in her list of blessings is gratitude. A survivor of a severe heart attack a few years ago, she is indeed grateful to be alive, and in much-improved health celebrated her Golden Anniversary.

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