Sister Yvonne Nadeau, SSND
January 27, 1930 – November 12, 2020
Yvonne Marie Nadeau was born in Rochester, New York, the daughter and oldest child of Cleophas Joseph and Marie Sarah LeBlanc Nadeau, on January 27, 1930. Her father had been born in Montpelier, Vermont, and her mother in New Brunswick, Canada. “She had come to Massachusetts with an aunt who was planning to get married. After she arrived and met my father there was a second family wedding,” Yvonne wrote in her autobiography. Two more girls completed the family, Theresa, and the youngest, Janice, who is also an SSND.
Yvonne was baptized at St. Theodore Church, in Rochester, and started school, in 1935, at Saints Peter and Paul, where she was taught by School Sisters of Notre Dame. “As children we lived very near the convent and often spent time chatting with and doing errands for the sisters. As a result, I always felt I wanted to enter the convent,” Yvonne reminisced years later. First Communion in 1937 and Confirmation from Bishop James Kearney in 1940 were part of her grade school experience. Yvonne graduated in 1943 and, guided by Sister Mary Carita, went to the Juniorate in Fort Lee, New Jersey, that fall.
After what she described as “four happy and eventful years,” Yvonne graduated in 1947. The summers of 1945, ‘46 and ‘47 found her employed as a salesgirl at Woolworth’s, a counselor at a JYWCA camp, and an assembly line worker at Eastman-Kodak. She received the bonnet in Saints Peter and Paul Church on August 27, 1947 and was on her way to Baltimore. After one year studying in the Candidature Teacher Training School, she was sent to Philadelphia to teach first grade at St. Boniface School for her second year. She had 59 students for 53 desks! Entering the Novitiate on July 16, 1949, she received the name Mary Evangela.
From 1950 to 1963, Evangela taught middle grades at four SSND schools: Immaculate Conception in Secaucus, NJ; Saints Peter and Paul in Camden, NJ; Holy Ghost in Rochester, NY; and St. Michael in South Glens Falls, NY. When she was missioned to newly-opened Bishop Kearney High School in Rochester in the fall of 1963, she began 20 years of teaching math, a subject she loved at a school she loved.In the midst of that time she spent one year, 1969-70 at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Dover, New Hampshire.
Here is her description of her Kearney years:
In the beginning I taught freshman classes and then,
after working toward a degree in math, I became a
math teacher for all levels. I received several National
Science Foundation grants in different parts of the
country during summers. I learned much and met teachers
from different parts of the country.
It is true to say that Bishop Kearney became a very big
part of my life as I grew to know more and more students
and their families. I chaperoned two wonderful trips to
Europe, and was concerned about the responsibility, but
each group behaved well which enabled me to have an
enjoyable time. I have always loved teaching and loved
the students. They gave me life.
Sister Yvonne earned a B.S. in Education from Seton Hall University in 1961. Her mathematics credentials were an M.A. from the University of Detroit in 1970, and a previous M.A. from Georgetown University in 1965.
Yvonne’s next ministry was that of Pastoral Associate at Holy Apostles Parish in Rochester, where Father Larry Gross, who had been Chaplain at Bishop Kearney, was Pastor. She served from 1986 to 1993, while “to keep her hand in teaching” she taught one math course each semester until 1998 at Monroe Community College. She found pastoral ministry “something new and also a spiritual gift to me.” Pastoral duties and community service also took her to Good Shepherd Parish in Henrietta, NY, and St. Paul of the Cross in Honeoye Falls, NY.
Yvonne retired to Villa Notre Dame in July 2010, and later wrote, “It was not an easy move for me to come to Wilton, but now that I am here I feel I have adjusted well and am content and happy to be here.”
Yvonne was among the first group of sisters to go from Lourdes Health Care Center to Ozanam Hall in Bayside, NY in September 2019.
After a brief illness she died there on November 12, 2020. The VND community celebrated her Liturgy of Christian Burial on November 18, presided over by Chaplain Tom Elliott, CSC. It was videotaped by Sister Sue Czaplicki for her sisters and friends. Sisters Charlaine Fill, John Vianney Zullo, and Kate Whalen provided music. Burial followed at St. Mary Cemetery, Bethel, Connecticut.
- Sister Kay O’Connell