“I have found David, my faithful servant, with my holy oil I have anointed him and my arm has made him strong.” (Psalm 89:21) More than 96 years ago, Sr. Mary David Hecker, MSC was found and chosen by God. She was born September 23, 1924 and she died at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Nursing Home in Opelousas, Louisiana on December 20, 2020 at 3:55 PM. Sister was preceded in death by her father, Urban Joseph Hecker, and her mother, Marie Louise Sullivan Hecker; and her siblings: Joe, Louise, John Navin, David and Florence Gravois. She is survived and missed by her sister, Frances Hecker, and her devoted nieces, nephews, students and co-workers.
Sister entered the Marianites of Holy Cross on September 31, 1941 and pronounced her perpetual vows on August 11, 1946. She received her college education at Holy Angels Academy and Loyola University in New Orleans. She earned a Master’s degree in education from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas.
Early in her ministry, Sister was involved in education in New Orleans at Holy Angels Academy, St. Cecilia, St. Agnes, Holy Name of Mary, St. Rita, and St. Andrew. She served as director of novices for the Marianites from 1963 to 1969. From 1984 to 1992, she ministered with several other Marianites in Talagante, Chile at the Hogar de Ninos San Jose Orphanage. She spoke fondly of her time in Chile and her work with the Holy Cross priests who were in charge of the orphanage. Upon her return from Chile, she ministered at St. Mary’s in Cottonport and at St. Joseph School in Plaucheville. She moved to Prompt Succor Convent in Opelousas in 2011 and due to health issues, she became a resident of Prompt Succor Nursing Home on December 19, 2011. Throughout these 9 years, her consistent simplicity, gratitude, and prayerfulness endeared her to the staff who cared for her and the residents on her hall. She was much appreciated for the notes and cards she made and distributed for special occasions which always included one of her own spiritual acrostic. One that she had written is on Compassion: C, compassion; O, obliges; M, me to; P, pay; A, attention to; S, someone else; S, so that; I, in my concern; O, others may experience; N, new hope. What an important message for us in 2020 and beyond!
Regardless of where she was geographically, the threads that were most evident in the tapestry of her life were the history and heritage of the Congregation of Holy Cross. She was deeply devoted to Fr. Basil Moreau, the founder of Holy Cross, and Mother Mary of the Seven Dolors, the first superior general of the Marianites. She was an active member of the Holy Cross History Conference and was deeply involved in promoting the cause for the Beatification of Fr. Moreau. Years ago, she implemented the annual Decade of Days in January to celebrate the days that connected the death of Fr. Moreau on January 20th and the death of Mother Mary on January 29th. This became a special time for Holy Cross members to gather, to pray, and to remember and celebrate the religious women and men central to the foundation of Holy Cross.
The Suscipe, associated with St. Ignatius Loyola, was a favorite prayer of Sr. Mary David. “Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, my entire will; all that I have and possess. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours, Lord, do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.” These words were often on her lips and lived in her actions. Over the years, Sister had indeed given everything and, in return, the Lord freed her of all infirmity and gifted her with a 2020 Christmas celebration in heaven!
Sister Mary David, we thank you for the multitude of gifts you so generously shared with us. We depend on you to keep us all in your fervent prayers!
Due to restrictions of COVID-19, a private funeral service will be held Tuesday, December 22nd in Opelousas, followed by burial in St. Landry Cemetery in Opelousas. In lieu of flowers, the Marianites of Holy Cross request that memorial donations be sent to the Marianites of Holy Cross at our Congregational Center – 21388 Smith Road, Covington, Louisiana, 70435.
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