Sr. Audrey Fontenot (AKA Sr. James) was born July 13, 1928 in Grand Prairie, Louisiana. She died peacefully at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Nursing Home on Saturday, February 29, 2020 at 5:30 AM.
She was preceded in death by her father, Herbert Justine Fontenot, her mother, Edna Troville Fontenot, and her brothers Raphael Fontenot, Gerand Fontenot, Herbert J. Fontenot, Jr. She is survived by her sister-in-law, Doris Fontenot, and numerous nieces, nephews, and their families; as well as by her former students who remained connected to her throughout her life.
Sr. Audrey entered the Marianites on September 8, 1945 and pronounced her perpetual vows on August 12, 1950. She received a Bachelor’s degree in education from Holy Angels Academy and a Masters in Special Education from Cardinal Stritch College in Wisconsin.
She taught in primary education in New Orleans, Opelousas, Port Allen, Morgan City, and Houma, Louisiana, and in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. From 1965 to 1975, she was involved in Special Education in the diocese of Houma, Thibodeaux. From 1975 to 1979, she served as Assistant Superintendent of Special Education for the Diocese of Lafayette.
"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Matthew 19:14) Sr. Audrey incarnated these words of Jesus Christ, through her educational training and her resolute spirit of kindness and compassion. With these gifts, she was able to touch the hearts and minds of children of all ages and capabilities. Their lives were forever changed through her loving attention to each one.
Following training in pastoral care and spiritual direction, she served in Grand Coteau, Ville Platte, and Gibson, Louisiana. From 1995 – 2010, she served in pastoral care and activities at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Nursing Home. At the end of 2010, she became a resident of the nursing home and continued to delight in all the activities and to share her many gifts with staff, residents, and their families. Even from her wheelchair, she was always eager to join in and to encourage others to participate in the exercise, the song and the dance of the group!
A woman of the field and the garden, Sr. Audrey nurtured the beauty of God’s creation. With great delight and to the amazement of many, she could bring forth new leaves and enable faltering plants to put forth new blossoms. Whether in the garden or in education, parish ministry or nursing home care, all sorts of unique flowers bloomed in the lives she touched. In each circumstance, she brought a special spirit of joyfulness and delight. Ever cheerful, even on cloudy days, she was able to experience and exude sunshine because of her spiritual union with the Good Shepherd.
Indeed, the Good Shepherd held a singular and special place in Sr. Audrey’s heart. Throughout her life, she faithfully followed His lead tending the flock entrusted to her care. Like the Good Shepherd, she listened intently to the voice of the sheep to discern how best to guide them on their faith journey. She led the flock from behind to strengthen them; from within to encourage them; from the front to show them the way. Because of her nearness to the heart of the Good Shepherd, her heart became centered in His and this was manifested by her kindness and fidelity. Thank you, dear Sr. Audrey, for sharing the love of the Good Shepherd with all of us! Please pray for us that we, too, may joyfully and faithfully stay close to His heart.
To celebrate her entrance into eternal life, a wake service will be held on Friday, March 6, 2020 from 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM in the chapel at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Nursing Home followed by the Mass of the Resurrection at 10:30 AM in the chapel at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Nursing Home with burial in St. Landry Cemetery in Opelousas, LA.
In lieu of flowers, the Marialites of Holy Cross request that memorial donations be made to the Marialites of Holy Cross, congregational Center at 21388 Smith Road, Covington, LA 70435.
Words of Comfort to the family may be expressed at www.sibillefuneralhomes.com. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Sibille Funeral Home of Opelousas.
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