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Obituaries

Sister Rina Brunetti, PM

Your prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of Sr. Rina Brunetti, also known as Sr. Frances Cabrini, who died at St. Joseph Convent in Biddeford on April 30, 2022, at the youthful age of 95.

The daughter of Eugene and Eliza Brunetti, she was born into a family of 10 in Blackstone, Mass., on December 2, 1926.

She professed vows as a Sister of the Presenstation of Mary on February 2, 1950. She earned a bachelor's degree from Rivier College in Nashua, N.H., and a master's degree in religious studies from Providence College in Rhode Island.

Sister Rina taught at Notre Dame School in Saco when first professed. but most of her ministry was as a hospital chaplain and pastoral minister in Massachusetts, something at which she excelled. She served in parishes and hospitals in Chicopee, Gardner, Winchendon, Lowell, and Methuen, Mass.

Her funeral will be private at St. Joseph Convent in Biddeford on Thursday, May 6, with burial to follow at St. Joseph Cemetery.

Please remember in your prayers, those that mourn Sr. Rina’s death, her religious sisters, the community at St. Joseph Convent where she spent her last years, and her beloved family.

May her soul and the soul of all the faithful departed rest in peace.

Sister Theresa Labrecque, SCIM

Please join in praying for the soul of Sister Theresa Labrecque, SCIM, formerly known as Sister St. Robert of Milan, who died at St. Joseph Convent on April 11, at the age of 98. 

She was born to Eugene Labrecque and Ludivine Roy Labrecque on October 6, 1923, in Lawrence, MA, the second child in a family of eleven children.  She received her education at St. Anne School and St. Anne High School in Lawrence, MA.

On August 25, 1942, she entered the Congregation of the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, also known as the Good Shepherd Sisters of Quebec, in Biddeford.  After her initial training, she spent one year at the motherhouse in Quebec, where she studied and readied herself for teaching.  She taught in the Van Buren schools from 1945 until 1954 when she began her missionary service in Lesotho, Africa. where she functioned as an educator until 1994.

Upon her return from southern Africa, Sister Theresa began her ministry as assistant director of Bay View Villa in Saco, welcoming visiting and vacationing guests. In 2008, upon the closure of Bay View Convent, she moved to St. Joseph Convent in Biddeford.

Sister Theresa is survived by two brothers. She also leaves two sisters who are members of different religious communities: Sister Lillian, an Oblate of Bethany in Quebec, and Sister Pauline, an auxiliary of the Blessed Sacrament in Wisconsin. She is predeceased by four brothers: Roger, a Marist priest who died in 1987, Robert, a Marist priest who died in 1992, Raymond, and Richard; and by two sisters: Sister Jeannette, SCIM. who died in 2000, and Sister Cecile, SCIM, who died in 2013.

Sister Mary Anastasia Skwara, RSM

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Sister Mary Anastasia Skwara, RSM, who died on April 4, 22, at the age of 93. 

Sister Anastasia was born in Niagara Falls, NY in 1928 to Anthony and Agnes (Filaroska) Skwara. She attended Farmington High School, before entering the Sisters of Mercy from St. Joseph Parish in Farmington. She began her religious formation at Our Lady of Mercy College, now Saint Joseph's College of Maine in Standish, and spent several years teaching before being assigned to Mercy Hospital in Portland to assist in EKG and the pharmacy. She continued her education at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in Boston, Mass., graduating first in her class. She went on to serve sa a pharmacist at Mercy hospital for nearly 40 years. She then served as coordinator of resident services at Deering Pavilion for more than 20 years before retiring from active ministry.

Sister Anastasia also worked to help those battling the disease of alcoholism. She served on the Maine Council on Alcohol and Drug Prevention Treatment, and received a degree with an emphasis on addition from Rutgers University School in New Jersey.

Sister Mary Bernadette Hayden, RSM

Please join in praying for the repose of the soul of Sister Mary Bernadette Hayden, RSM, a member of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, who died on January 27, 2022, at the age of 92.

Sister Bernadette, formerly called Sister Mary Berchmans Rose, was born in South Brewer to Harry Milton and Rose Elizabeth Hayden. She attended St. Teresa School in Brewer and Brewer High School before entering the Sisters of Mercy in 1949, making her first profession in 1951.

Sister Bernadette earned a degree in business education from St. Joseph’s College of Maine in Standish and went on to teach at Catholic schools across the Diocese of Portland including St. Patrick and St. Joseph in Portland, St. Mary and St. John in Bangor, St. Mary in Houlton, St. Mary in Westbrook, St. Teresa in Brewer, Immaculate Conception in Calais, and Catherine McAuley High School in Portland.

From 1974 until 1997, Sister Bernadette held the position of executive secretary to the president of St. Joseph’s College and served as a staff person on the college’s Board of Overseers. After her retirement from active ministry, she volunteered as an extraordinary minister of holy Communion at Maine Medical Center, visited the elderly and sick, and did some tutoring. She was described as one of the kindest people you could encounter.

Visting Hours: Monday, January 21, 2022, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., at Conroy-Tully Walker Funeral Home in South Portland, with a prayer service at 5 p.m. The prayer service will be livestreamed at https://www.facebook.com/ConroyTullyWalker.

Mass of Christian Burial: Tuesday, February 1, 2022, at 11 a.m. at St. Pius X Church, 492 Ocean Avenue, Portland.  The Mass will be livestreamed at https://www.facebook.com/ConroyTullyWalker and at http://www.ladyofhopemaine.org.

Sister Mary Kelley, RSM

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Sister Mary Kelley, RSM, who died January 14, 2022. Sister Mary Kelley was born in Westbrook and was a 1962 graduate of Cathedral High School in Portland. She entered the Sisters of Mercy that same year, and in 1970, she received a bachelor's degree from St. Joseph's College of Maine.

Sister Mary Kelley served in many capacities through her years of service as a Sister of Mercy, but she really found her calling in social ministry. She spent many years at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Presque Isle working in the food pantry and at the Sister Mary O’Donnell Shelter. Sister Mary Kelley also ministered to the homebound, helped to establish an ecumenical food pantry called GIFT, and was involved in ACTS retreats, providing training. No matter where she was, Sr. Mary Kelley was active in the parish and the community.  Her love for the poor and underprivileged was evident. and she challenged everyone she came in contact with to also be active. Sister Mary Kelley also loved to sew, make crafts, and she wrote a children's book.

May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.  Amen.

Father Robert Regan, SJ

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Father Robert Regan, SJ, the son of Francis A. and Mary Regan, who passed away on December 2, 2021.

A member of the Society of Jesus, Father Regan was ordained to the priesthood in 1959 at Weston College in Cambridge, Mass. He served at Baghdad College in Iraq until its closing in 1969 and then was assigned to Holy Family College in Cairo, Egypt, from 1969 to 1994. At that time, he joined Maine's Jesuit community, becoming pastor of St. Pius X Parish in Portland from 1994 to 1996. In 1996, he transitioned to becoming a parochial vicar at the parish, which merged with St. Joseph Parish and St. Patrick Parish in 2011 to become Our Lady of Hope Parish. Father Regan was known for his wonderful sense of humor. He also helped to develop the parish's ministry to the homebound, which continues today. Father Regan served in Maine until 2016 when he went to reside at the Jesuit Community's Campion Center in Weston, Mass.

Father Regan is survived by his brother, Francis Regan, as well as several nieces and nephews and his Jesuit family. 

Deacon Jim Burns

Please join in praying for the repose of the soul of Deacon Jim Burns, who passed away on November 29 at the age of 78.

Deacon Burns is originally from Bronx, New York, and spent much of his life in that state before moving to Maine. Originally discerning to become a Marist Brother, he instead became an electrician, spending 43 years working for Arc Electric Corp and Forest Electric at the World Trade Center in New York City. He also served in the Air National Guard for six years.

He was ordained to the permanent diaconate on May 14, 1988, for the Archdiocese of New York and served at Sacred Heart Church there for 16 years. He and his wife, Clare, then moved to Maine where he served at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Fryeburg, part of St. Joseph Parish. Although he retired from active ministry in 2019, he was a familiar presence at the church up until his passing.

In addition to Clare, his wife of 55 years, Deacon Burns is survived by five sons and twelve grandchildren.

A funeral Mass for Deacon Burns was held at Sacred Heart Church in Munroe, New York, on Monday, December 6.

Sister Irene Platt, COC

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Sister Irene Platt, COC, who died on November 16, 2021, at the age of 61. Born on May 9,1960, to Lawrence and Jeannette Platt, Sister Irene was raised in Chester, PA, where she attended Catholic schools. In 1980, just two years after graduation, she entered the Companions of Christ in Portland, answering a call to serve the Lord. Sister Irene served in various ministries in the Portland and Auburn/Lewiston areas, most recently at St. Mary’s d’Youville Pavilion Senior Living Center in Lewiston as a CNA and at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Auburn.

May her soul and the soul of all the faithful departed rest in peace.

Funeral arrangements:

Reception of the Body and Wake: Friday, November 19, at 11:30 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church, 8 Sacred Heart Place, Auburn
Mass of Christian Burial: Friday, November 19, at 1 p.m. at Sacred Heart Church, 8 Sacred Heart Place, Auburn.

Sister Jean Little, RSM

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Sister Jean Little R.S.M., (formerly Sister Mary Edwin), who died peacefully on Friday, October 29, 2021, at the age of 82.

Born in Portland on December 13, 1938, Sister Jean was the daughter of Harold Edwin and Mary Catherine Mannette Little. She attended St. Patrick Elementary School and then Cathedral High School in Portland, before entering the Sisters of Mercy in 1957. She then went on to earn a B.S. in education from St. Joseph's College of Maine in Standish and a M.Ed. from Boston College.

Sister Jean taught at Cathedral Elementary School in Portland, St. Mary School in Augusta, St. John School in Bangor, St. Joseph School in Portland, and St. Athanasius School in Rumford, before being asked, in 1968, to join the newly established Diocesan Bureau of Human Relations Services, the forerunner of Catholic Charities Maine. Among her responsibilities was overseeing the transition of Holy Innocents Home and St. Elizabeth’s Orphanage into St. Elizabeth's Child Development Center, which still serves children to this day. She described her years at Catholic Charities as “marvelous.”

In 1978, Sister Jean was selected by her community to be a member of the Renewal Team, after which she was called to be superior of St. Joseph's Motherhouse community. She then served as a pastoral associate at St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Biddeford, before being elected to the leadership team of the Mercy community. She served as ministry director from 1990-1994 and also served on the Bishop’s Task Force for the Future of the Church in Maine. In 1994, Sister Jean was named co-director of the Mercy Associates before becoming director of volunteer services for the refugee resettlement program of Catholic Charities Maine. In 1998, Sister Jean was elected regional president of the Portland community of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, a position she held until 2006.  After a sabbatical, Sister Jean was then invited to serve as director of faith formation at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Westbrook.

Reflecting on her many experiences at the time of her 60th jubilee in 2017, Sister Jean said, “I would not want to trade my life for anything else, because as I have gone through my experiences, with the good times and the not-so-good-times, they have been very rich. I feel very blessed.”

In addition to participation in numerous community leadership conferences for the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Sister Jean served on the boards of Mercy Hospital in Portland, St. Joseph's College of Maine, and Catholic Charities Maine.

Visiting hours: Tuesday, November 2, at the Conroy-Tully Walker Chapel, 1024 Broadway, South Portland

Mass of Christian Burial: - Wednesday, November 3, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 307 Congress Street in Portland. Bishop Robert Deeley will be the celebrant.  Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery in South Portland.

Father Donald S. Gagne, SM

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Father Donald S. Gagne, SM, who died on October 23, 2021, at the age of 89.  The son of Marianne and Arthur Gagne, Father Gagne was born in Brunswick where he was a student at St. John's Catholic School.

From there, he attended Marist Preparatory High School Seminary in Bedford, Mass., followed by continued studies in Framingham, Mass.; Quebec, Canada; and Washington, D.C.

He was ordained a priest for the Society of Mary (the Marists) at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in 1962, after which his first assignment brought him back to Maine, serving at St. Bruno Parish in Van Buren. From there, he served at St. Anne in Lawrence, Mass., Our Lady of Pity in Cambridge, Mass., and then as chaplain at Mass. General Hospital in Boston.

Father Gagne then returned to his roots, serving at his home parish of St. John the Baptist in Brunswick. That was followed by assignments as director of the Lourdes Center in Boston and at parishes in Massachusetts in Vermont.

He would conclude his active priestly ministry in Maine, as chaplain of St. Mary’s Hospital and Central Maine Medical Center, both in Lewiston.

Father Gagne was the last Marist Father residing in the state of Maine.

Visiting Hours: Wednesday, October 27, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 39 Pleasant Street, Brunswick

Mass of Christian Burial: Thursday, October 28, 11 a.m. at St. John the Baptist Church, 39 Pleasant Street, Brunswick, followed by burial in St. John’s Cemetery.

Father Hilary J. Cameron

Please join in praying for the repose of the soul of Father Hilary J. Cameron, a priest of the Diocese of Portland, who died on Tuesday, October 5, at the age of 87. 

Father Hilary was born to Henry and Mary (Kirlin) Cameron in October 1933 in the town of Houlton Where he attended St. Mary's School and then Houlton High School. After receiving a bachelor's degree from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, he began a teaching career, first at Presque Isle High School and then at the junior high in Bath, followed by the high school in Edmeston, New York.

It was there that he discerned his vocation to the priesthood, and in 1960, he began philosophical and theological studies at St. Paul's Seminary and University in Ottawa, Ontario.

He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Daniel J. Feeney on May 16, 1964, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland.

Father Cameron's pastoral assignments included:

1964 - Assistant pastor at St. Dominic Parish in Portland
1964 - Assistant pastor, then temporary administrator at St. Bernard Parish in Rockland
1968 - Assistant pastor at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland
1969 - Temporary administrator of St. Pius X Parish in Portland
1972 - Assistant pastor, then temporary administrator of St. Joseph Parish in Gardiner
1975 – Assistant pastor at St. Mary Parish in Bangor
1976 – Temporary administrator of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Belfast
1977 – Pastor of St. Benedict Parish in Benedicta
1979 – Pastor of St. Denis Parish in Fort Fairfield
1986 – Pastor of St. Martha Parish in Kennebunkport
1995 – Pastor of Our Lady of Peace Parish in Berwick.
2001 – Pastor of St. Michael Parish in South Berwick, in addition to his responsibilities as pastor of Our Lady of Peace Parish.

In addition to his parish assignments, Father Cameron was named to the Diocesan Board of Education in 1972.

He retired from active ministry in 2004.

2022

Sister Mary Bernadette Hayden, RSM
Sister Mary Kelley, RSM

2021

Therese Blais
Sister Dorothy Bujold, CSJ
Deacon Jim Burns
Father Hilary J. Cameron
Father Donald S. Gagne, SM
Sister Martha Gleason, OSU
Sister Madeleine Grandmaison, CSJ
Father Joseph Koury
Father Renald Labarre
Sister Jean Little, RSM
SisterThérèse (Aurelie) Michaud. DW
Father Stephen Mulkern
Father Thomas Murphy
Father Constanzo Piselli
Sister Irene Platt, COC
Father Robert Regan, SJ
Sister Mary Fatima St. Germain, RSM
Sister Noreen Thome, SSS

2020

Sister Mary Peter Bachand, OSU
Sister Dorina Chasse, SCIM
Father Roger Cyr, OMI
Sister Claire Descoteaux, OP
Sister Rosemary Donohue, SNDden
Sister Michelle Doyon, p.m.
Sister David Mary Duncan, RSM
Sister June Rita Fortier, SCIM
Sister Lucille Gamache, SCIM
Sister Elizabeth Kilbride, RSM
Sister Estelle Leblanc, SCIM
Sister Jeannine Levasseur, CSJ
Father Ernest L'Heureux
Brother André Louis Millette, FIC
Sister Rita Morin, CSJ
Deacon Roger Normand
Sister Rita Ouellette, MIC
Sister Theresa Rand, RSM
Sister Dorothy Sullivan, RSM
Sister Renée Turcotte, OP
Sister Dorothy Violette, SCIM

2019

Bishop Paul Baltakis, OFM
Sister Claudia Barbre, RSM
Msgr. Raymond Begin
Father Ralph Boisvert
Father James Brewer
Beatrice Caron
Father Lionel Chouinard
Sister Mary Gemma Connelly, RSM
Sister Sylvia Genesse, p.m.
Father Seamus Keebler, OSA prim
Sister Fleurette Kennon, RSM
Father Leroy Landry, OMI
Father Rene Lavoie
Sister Claire Lepage, CSJ
Sister Laurette Levasseur, CSJ
Father Rudolph Leveille
Sister Elizabeth Madden, SSS
Father Armand Neault
Sister Marita Pelletier, SCIM
Sister Elizabeth Platt, COC
Father Bertrand Poussard
Sister Mary Denis Schwartz, RSM
Brother Marcel Sylvestre

2018

 
mily, Peter began his lifetime of service with his membership in the Waterville Lion's Club, which continued for 50 years and included the District's Lions President Award in 1964 as well as numerous awards for dedicated service, and as a 4th Degree Knight in the Knights of Columbus which continued for 58 years.
Peter was an active member and past-president of the Greater Waterville Interfaith Council for 20 years. He served as coordinator of Interfaith Clergy which became the Interfaith Council. He was one of the four founding fathers of the Interfaith Homeless Shelter in Waterville, now known as the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter. - See more at: http://obituaries.centralmaine.com/obituaries/mainetoday-centralmaine/ob... previous obituaries:2018

Sister Martin Drouin, OSU
Sister Theresa Conlogue, RSM
Sister Bertha Cormier, SCIM
Sister Dolores Cyr, O.P.
Deacon Richard Doyle
Father John J. Feeney
Father Donald Jacques
Brother James Lacasse, FIC\
Sister Maura Murphy, RSM
Father Donald McAllister
Sister Rose Anna Ouellette, SSS
Sister Rita Pelletier, O.P.
Sister Mary Catherine Perko, SSS
Sister Marie Immaculata Vane, DW
Sister M. Stella Maris Ware, RSM

2017

Father Claude Albert
Sister Alice Beauchemin, SCIM
Sister Aurore Beaulieu, SCIM
Father Richard Bertrand, SJ
Father Armand Bill
Sister Jacqueline Bilodeau
Brother Francis Blouin, FIC
Sister Pauline Bonenfant, OP
Father Normand Carpentier
Sister Georgeanne Doucette, SCIM
Sister Cecile Grenier
Sister Cecilia Kennedy, RSR
Monsignor Robert Lavoie
Sister Anne Xavier Loubert, CSJ
Father James MacGee
Sister Mary de la Salle O'Donnell, RSM
Father Clement Thibodeau
Sister Patricia Veale

2016

Sister Ursula Binnette, OSU
Sister Rita Bourassa, OSU
Sister Collette Caron, CSJ
Sister Candide Corriveau, DW
Sister Mary Garrett, RSM
Father James Knox
Sister Mary Laboure Morin
Father Richard Ouellette
Sister Claire Pelletier, SCIM
Father Paul Plante
Sister Rose Mary Rush, RSM
Sister Anita Therrien, SCIM

2015

Sister Mary Annunciation, OP
Sister Mary Louis Auger, RSM
Sister Nesta Beaudoin, OSU
Sister Thelma Bouchard, RSR
Deacon Robert Divine
Sister Laurette Fredette, SCIM
Sister Monique Gobeil, SCIM
Sister Lucille Huot, SCIM
Sister Jacqueline Koss, CSJ
Sister Pauline Lamirande, SCIM
Sister Theresa Lanouette, SCIM
Sister Mary Louise Landry, RS
Father Harold Nicknair
Father Fernand Paquet, MM
Father Arthur Pechillo

2014

Sister Bertha Bergeron, OSU
Father Gerald Bolduc, OMI
Sister Simonne Doucette, SCIM
Father Thomas Farley
Sister Lucille Fournier, OP
Sister Catherine Green, RSM
Deacon Peter Joseph
Sister Mary Madeline Lemieux, OSU
Father Kieran Monahan, OFM
Father Real Nadeau
Msgr. Leopold Nicknair
Sister Olivia Pasterczyk, RSM
Sister Theresa Pelletier, SCIM
Deacon George Stevens

2013

Msgr. Vincent Tatarczuk
Rev. Patrick Walsh, CSC