Sister Adele Ducharme
Ducharme, Sister Adele
Bernadette Cecilia Joan Ducharme was born at Stratford, Ontario, on January 29, 1911, to Eli Duchanne and Celima LaPorte, of St. Joseph, Ontario. She was predeceased by her eight brothers, Jean Baptiste, Xyst, Celse, Alphonse, Malcolm, Raoul (Harold), Jerome and Fergus Ducharme, and
her four sisters, Valencienne (Mrs. Omer Paul), Eugenie (Sister St. Leon, I.B.V.M.), Alexine (Mrs. Gilbert Turgeon), and Dolores (Mrs. Jerry Nicholson).
Bernadette attended St. Joseph Elementary School for grades nine to eleven at Loretto Academy, Stratford, Ontario, and did grades twelve and thirteen at Loretto Abbey, Toronto. As member of the Institute, she took courses at the Universities of Toronto, Ottawa, Windsor and Brock in St. Catharines, Ontario. In 1934, she attended Teachers College, Stratford. She obtained certificates from the St. John Ambulance Course, the Canadian Red Cross Course, the Department of Home Nursing, Elementary Vocal Music, Elementary Mathematics, Specialized Reading, Elementary Guidance, English as a Second Language and a Course at the Clinical Institute of Pastoral Care.
At the age of twenty, Bernadette entered the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Loretto Abbey, Toronto, on February 2, 1931, received the religious name, Sister Adele, and made final vows on Agust 21, 1936.
Sister Adele's ministry was varied and impressive. She spent two years in the Branch Novitiate at Chicago, Illinois., and taught at St. Bernard School. The remaining thirty-eight years of her teaching career were spent in Canadian Schools as teacher and/or principal. In Toronto, she taught grade one at St. Matthew School from 1935-1937, and the same grade at St. Anthony School, from 1937-1943.
From 1943-1947, and again. from 1950-1956, she was principal and teacher at St. Vincent de Paul School. In 1947, she was assigned to Loretto Academy, Sedley, Saskatchewan, then to St. Patrick School and, later, Librarian at Carmel Senior Elementary School, Niagara Falls. From 1970-1973, she taught kindergarten and grades one, two and three at the Indian Reserve School at Mobert, Ontario. She also taught in Estevan, Saskatchewan.
After retiring from teaching, Sister Adele was engaged for two years in pastoral care in Barton place, a nursing home in downtown Toronto. For one year she worked in parish ministry as well as doing Catechists at Bolton, Ontario. Then she moved into teaching English as a Second Language for a year. From 1977-1985, she was Director of the Catechetical Correspondence School at Loretto Convent in Guelph which was operated by the Hamilton Diocese. She served as Superior at Loretto Convent, Estevan for four years and as first assistant at Loretto College School for four years. While living at Loretto College School, Sister Adele taught English to Jesuit priests from foreign countries. A woman of medium height and weight, she possessed great energy into her early nineties and continued to do ministry until failing health forced her to move into the Infirmary. She was a gifted story teller and had a marvelous sense of humour. She entertained countless numbers of people with her stories which, of course, improved with each telling.
At the age of one-hundred-and-one, and a member of the IBVM for eighty-one years, Sister Adele Ducharme died peacefully at Loretto Infirmary, Toronto, on November 8, 2012. She is buried in the Loretto Sisters Plot at Mount Hope Cemetery, Toronto, Ontario.