World's oldest Dominican Sister dies at age 110
A French diocese announced that Dominican Sister Marie Bernardette, the oldest sister in her order, passed away last week at 110 years of age.
The religious sister died Feb. 13, according to the Diocese of Aire-et-Dax, France.
Funeral rites for the beloved sister were held in the monastery chapel in the town of Dax where she lived. Sister Marie Bernardette had turned 110 on January 5. She would have been a religious sister for 90 years on April 18.
Sister Marie Bernardette was born Jan. 5, 1907 in Orsanco, a small village in French Basque Country. Her parents named her “Gracious,” and she was one of 12 children. Three of her sisters would also go on to become religious sisters.
Last year, the French Catholic newspaper La Croix featured the sister in an article. In that piece, Prioress Sister Véronique explained that age has changed Sister Marie-Bernadette’s tasks: “When she could no longer do house work, she made rosaries. And since she can’t make them anymore, she prays (the rosary) all day” in French, Latin and Basque.
“She prays a lot for the pope, for vocations and for our order,” the prioress said.
At the Dax monastery, the Dominican sisters lead a life of prayer, contemplation and also do sewing and baking to support themselves.
In 2016, the Dominicans – whose formal name is the Order of Preachers – marked the 800th anniversary of their founding by Saint Dominic.
This order has produced many blesseds and saints, including Saint Rose of Lima, Saint Martin de Porres, Saint John Macias, Saint Vincent Ferrer, Pope Saint Pius V, and Saint Thomas Aquinas, a Doctor of the Church.