Sister Verda Frederick, MSC

In Memoriam

Sr. Mary Verda Frederick, MSC (AKA Bernadette Teresa Frederick) was born April 30, 1930 in Port Arthur, Texas.  She died at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Nursing Home on December 9, 2019 at 2:41 AM.

She was preceded in death by her father, Cleonard Frederick, her mother, Louise de Lafosse Frederick, and her sisters Rosemary Cloutman, Joyce Dorman, Mary Dixon, and Ruth Lueb.  She is survived by her nieces, nephews, and their families; as well as, by former students who remained connected to her throughout her life.

Sr. Mary Verda entered the Marianites of Holy Cross September 2, 1951 and pronounced her perpetual vows on August 16, 1956.  She received a Bachelor’s degree in education from Our Lady of Holy Cross College.  She taught at Holy Name of Mary and St. Agnes Schools in New Orleans; and in Lake Charles, Ville Platte, and Plaquemine.  Following these years in education, she received her M.A. in Hospital Administration from St. Louis University and served as administrator of Opelousas General Hospital from 1965 to 1972 and then served two years as Assistant Administrator of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Lafayette.  From 1974 to 1981, she ministered as Diocesan Director of the Social Apostolate in the Diocese of Lafayette and from 1981 to 1985, she was the Associate Director of Catholic Charities in the Galveston/Houston Diocese.  

In 1985, her life turned to another type of leadership when she was elected Congregational Assistant for the Marianites of Holy Cross and moved to the general administration center in Le Mans, France.  In 1989, she was chosen the Congregational Leader of the Marianites and served until 1995.  During this time, she was active in the re-organization of the congregational archives, the updating of the annals of the Congregation, and the activities of the Family of Holy Cross, Priests, Brothers, and Sisters.  Over these years, she learned to speak French and, true to her roots, she was known as the Sister who spoke French with a Texas accent!  

Following her tenure in congregational leadership, Sr. Mary Verda served as vice-president for mission integration for the Dubuis Catholic Health System (Sisters of the Incarnate Word Health System) in Alexandria, Louisiana and in Houston, Texas.  In 2003 until the time of her retirement from active ministry, she assisted in the congregational archives of the Marianites.

The Sunflower was her favorite flower.   The Sunflower is very unique in that each bloom is not just a single flower.  The large dark middle is actually made up of thousands of individual flowers and each of these flowers produces a seed. The French word for the Sunflower is “tournesol” which literally means “turns with the sun.”  This name refers to the fact that these flowers follow the movement of the sun as it travels daily across the sky.  No doubt, Sr. Mary Verda grew in her love and appreciation of these flowers during her years in France as she enjoyed seeing them grow in the fields from seeds, to stalks, to flowers.

Like her favorite flower, Sr. Mary Verda’s life comprised thousands of individual flowers each producing their own seeds. Whether in education, health care administration, diocesan social services, congregational leadership, all sorts of unique seeds were sown in the lives she touched.  In each circumstance, she committed herself to the work at hand while focusing her own life in the direction of the “Son.”   When asked about her call to religious life, she would smile and consistently respond that once she felt called to religious life her commitment to the vowed life never wavered.  Like St. Teresa of Avila, the saint whose name she was given at birth, her life journey took her in many directions, but her eyes remained firmly fixed on the Lord of her life.

Sunflowers are the symbols of faith and loyalty.  Sr. Mary Verda was able to witness these virtues in her own life because of her contemplative spirituality, her great devotion to the founder of Holy Cross, Blessed Basil Anthony Moreau and Mother Mary of the Seven Dolors, first superior general.  Sr. Mary Verda, we have been truly blessed that your Sunflower graced the soil of our lives; pray for us that we, too, may keep our eyes turned to the Son.

To celebrate her entrance into eternal life, a wake service followed by the Mass of the Resurrection was held in the chapel at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Nursing Home with burial in St. Landry Cemetery in Opelousas, LA.  
In lieu of flowers, the Marianites of Holy Cross request that memorial donations be made to the Marianites of Holy Cross, Congregational Center at 21388 Smith Road, Covington, LA 70435.