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Beaulieu bids farewell to four sisters

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GENERATIONS of Island women educated at Beaulieu School are expected to come together later this month to bid a fond farewell to four French nuns who are held in great affection by pupils past and present.

Back row, from left: Sister Marie Louise Serveau, Sister Marie Thérèse Troadec, Sister Marie Arzur and Sister Aline Marie Tranvoiz (seated). Picture: JON GUEGAN (21719441)

The women, who between them have given almost 180 years’ service to the school and the Order of the Immaculate Conception Saint-Méen-Le-Grand, are returning to the order’s Mother House in Brittany. Their departure will bring an end to 94 years of direct service to the Catholic community and religious education in Jersey.

Sister Marie Arzur (95) has already left Jersey but two days of church services and receptions are being planned to give a heartfelt send-off to Sister Marie Louise Serveau (95) Sister Aline Marie Tranvoiz (88) and Sister Marie Thérèse Troadec (83).

Deputy head teacher Bernadette Cooper, a past pupil who was taught by Sister Marie Louise, says that the members of the order – the first of whom came to Jersey in 1924 – have made a big contribution to Island life over the years. The order founded the school in 1951, but no nuns have taught there since the last sister retired in 2003.

‘The school will miss the sisters very much, as the order has been a big part of its history,’ Mrs Cooper said.

Referring to the last four in particular, she added: ‘Wherever they go in the Island there are always so many people who remember them.’

Sister Marie Louise joined Beaulieu in 1958 as a teacher. She went on the become the head teacher overseeing the expansion of the school. Since retiring from teaching in 1989, she has served as a trustee. She still visits the school at least twice a week.

The sister said she felt like a great-grandmother hundreds of times over, as many of the current pupils were grandchildren of the girls she taught in the 1950s and 60s.

‘When you have been 60 years in one place it is a big wrench to leave and not just the school but the Island,’ Sister Marie Louise said. ‘There is a tremendous family atmosphere at the school among the staff and the parents.’

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The order is not entirely severing its links with Jersey. Key figures will continue to maintain an interest in the school and the sisters hope to keep returning for holidays as long as their health permits.

‘Sister Marie Thérèse, Sister Aline and I are not going to leave permanently, we are going to keep in touch with everyone and we are hoping to come back to attend all the major events,’ Sister Marie Louise said.

The school pupils and staff will say their farewells on Friday 29 June with a mass in St Thomas’s Church, followed by a thanksgiving concert in St Mary’s and St Peter’s Church.

Events are also being held on Saturday 30 June for past pupils and parents to say their goodbyes. A thanksgiving service is being held in St Mary’s and St Peter’s Church at 9.30 am followed an hour later by a reception in the school gym.

Paula Thelwell

By Paula Thelwell
author

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