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Sister Mary Elizabeth Doherty, SNJM

Sister Lucian Marie Dusseau, OP

Sister Dorothy Owen, RSHM

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placeholder May 4, 2015   •   VOL. 53, NO. 9   •   Oakland, CA

Sister Mary Elizabeth Doherty, SNJM

"Sister, you were always there for us music geeks."

"She was such a patient piano teacher. I remember her fondly."

"RIP Sister Miriam Edward … fondly known as 'Electric Eddie' … Your spunky spirit and dedication to your craft will be missed. Class of 69."

These are just a few of the comments alums left on the Facebook page of Holy Names High School, Oakland, following the news that Sister Mary Elizabeth Doherty, known to some former students as Sister Mary Liz or as Sister Miriam Edward to others had died. "She never lost interest in HNHS," wrote Holy Names Sister Sally Slyngstad, who shared the sad news on Facebook. "She was its biggest cheerleader."

Sister Doherty, who died April 6, had celebrated her 93rd birthday in February. A member of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, she made her first profession 73 years ago.

In her first 12 years in ministry, Sister Doherty was assigned as an elementary school educator at schools in Los Angeles and Pomona. In the Oakland diocese, she also served at St. Augustine School and at Marylrose School, both in Oakland. The rest of her educational ministry was as a secondary school teacher — eight years at a school in Alhambra and 38 years at Holy Names High School in Oakland.

"Her contributions to Holy Names High School were countless," said Sister Mary Haupt, SNJM, who wrote the obituary released by her community. "She taught religion to generations of students, especially her beloved sophomores. As music teacher, orchestra conductor and creator of the fine arts program, she brought endless passion and love to everything she did."

When she "retired" Sister Doherty moved to the Convent of the Holy Names in Los Gatos, then home and care center to many Sisters. She made "being of service in any way she could," her new ministry. When the Holy Names Sisters sold their property in Los Gatos last year, she moved with some of the Sisters to Merrill Gardens in Campbell, one of two facilities that house or provide continuing care for the older and frail Sisters. At her new residence Sister Doherty became the "unofficial greeter" at the front door.

Sister Doherty will also be remembered for her many years as sacristan at HNHS, her beautiful flower arrangements, her sense of humor "and her Mary Lizisms," Sister Haupt said.

The funeral Mass was held April 19 at Marie Rose Center, Campbell. Her burial took place April 20 at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Hayward.

Sister Lucian Marie Dusseau, OP

Sister Lucian Marie Dusseau, died on March 30 at the Dominican Life Center in Adrian, Michigan, at the age of 92. She was in the 73rd year of her religious profession in the Adrian Dominican Congregation.

Born Alvira Marie Dusseau in Adrian, Michigan, she graduated from local Catholic elementary and secondary schools in Adrian. She graduated with a bachelor of philosophy degree in history and a master of education degree in guidance from Siena Heights College (University), also in Adrian.

Sister Dusseau spent 42 years as an educator serving as a teacher, principal and pastoral minister at parish schools in Chicago, Michigan, Delano, and Colusa, California. In the Diocese of Oakland she was a teacher at St. Lawrence O'Toole School in Oakland from 1978 to 1982, and 1984 to 1986. She became a resident of the Dominican Life Center in 1998.

She is survived by half brothers: Louis Ayotte of Westland, and Roger Ayotte of Allen Park, both in Michigan; and half sisters: Audrie Meszaros of Mesa, Arizona, Jeanette Vukson of Southgate, Michigan, Claudia Featherstone of Ypsilanti, Michigan and Shirley Ayotte of Michigan.

Her funeral Mass took place April 1 in St. Catherine Chapel of the Dominican Life Center in Adrian. The Rite of Committal was in the Congregation cemetery.

Sister Dorothy Owen, RSCJ

Sister Dorothy Owen, an Oakland-born educator, died April 2 at Oakwood, the Society of the Sacred Heart's elder care center in Atherton, a couple of weeks before her 80th birthday.

Sister Owen was one of 12 children born to Raymond and Dorothy Maguire Owen. An alumna of the Convent of the Sacred Heart, San Francisco, she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from San Francisco College for Women, which was operated by the Society of the Sacred Heart sisters. She joined the Society at the Kenwood Convent in Albany, New York, in 1955. She professed her first vows in 1958 at Kenwood Convent and made her final profession at the Society of the Sacred Heart motherhouse in Rome in 1964.

Sister Owen began her education ministry in 1958 at the Convent of the Sacred Heart boarding school in El Cajon. From 1958 to 1963, she taught at Convent of the Sacred Heart in Menlo Park. Following her final profession, she returned to Menlo Park, then went to Stuart Hall School for Boys in San Francisco, where she taught and served as director of studies until 1972. She returned to Menlo Park, to what was then called St. Joseph's School, where she taught until 1980. Known as an exceptional elementary school teacher, Sister Owen spent many summers as director of day camps for young children in San Francisco and Seattle.

Sister Owen enrolled in the Ministries Development Program of the Washington Theological Union in 1980, and in 1982 she began her ministry as a pastoral associate at a Greenbelt, Maryland, parish. In 1986, she became pastoral associate and director of religious education at a parish in Silver Spring, Maryland, where she ministered in a large immigrant community. She remained in this position until 2011 because of declining health.

"If something needed to be done Dotty would do it," read an obituary supplied by the Society of the Sacred Heart Sisters. At one of the Maryland parishes "she would solicit and receive furniture and clothing, all the while making certain those goods went out to a needy family as soon as they came in."

She is survived by sisters Marie L. Owen of Emeryville; Cathy (Alan) Gaynor of San Francisco; Christine Owen of Redwood City; Theresa Owen and Michael Shadwick of San Rafael; Mary Ann (Gary) Houston of Grants Pass, Oregon; and brothers John (Colleen) Owen of Clayton; Jim (Mary) Owen of Walnut Creek; and Ray (Lorraine) Owen of Lansdowne, Virginia, and many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at Oakwood on April 11 and burial followed at the cemetery at Oakwood.

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