Maryknoll, NY — Sister Rose Duchesne Debrecht, MM, died peacefully on February 22, 2014, at Maryknoll Sisters Home Care, Maryknoll, NY. She was 91 years old and had been a Maryknoll Sister for 73 years.
Armella Elizabeth Debrecht, better known to her students and friends by her religious name, Sister Rose Duchesne, was born on November 20, 1922 to Aloys and Leona Schneider Debrecht in St. Peters, MO. Her parents, brother Glennon Debrecht, and sister Mildred Ochs predeceased her. She is survived by another sister, Virginia Debrecht of St. Charles, MO, a niece and two nephews.
Armella attended St. Peter’s High School, St. Charles, MO, graduating in 1940. She entered Maryknoll Sisters at their Center, Maryknoll, NY, from St. Peter’s Parish on December 8, 1940. Her first Profession of Vows was made at the Maryknoll Sisters Motherhouse, Maryknoll, NY, on June 30, 1943, and her Final Vows on the same day, 1946, also at the Motherhouse.
A graduate of St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO, with an M.A. in geography, and Maryknoll Teachers College, Maryknoll, NY, with a bachelors in education, Sister Rose spent her entire missionary life in Hong Kong, where she was a teacher and principal from 1946-2006.
Sister Rose studied Cantonese in Hong Kong and Macau as well as Mandarin at St. Louis University, MO in 1978-79. She served at Maryknoll Convent School in Kowloontong first as a teacher in Form IV and V from 1952-1958, and principal of the Secondary Section from 1965-1972, supervising 37 teachers and approximately 900 students. Later, from 1983-1985, she also served as supervisor of Maryknoll Convent School’s Primary Section.
She taught at Maryknoll Sisters School at Blue Pool Road, Hong Kong, from 1958-1962. From 1973-1978, when Kit Sam Middle School, Kwun Tong, was badly in need of a principal, Sister served there as both principal and teacher. From 1979-1985 Sister Rose served as matron at the student hostel at Adam Schall Residence, Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Following three years working at the Maryknoll Sisters Center in its Promotion and Mission Education office from 1985-1989, Sister Rose returned to Hong Kong, where she served in Regional Service Team Administration from 1989-1992, worked in communications for Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN) from 1989-1993, and tutored English in Kwun Tong and Kowloontong, from 1993-2012.
A Vesper service will be held for Sister Rose on Monday, March 3, 2014, at 4:15 p.m., in Annunciation Chapel, Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY, followed by a Memorial Mass at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Sister Rose gave her body to science with the hope that others might benefit from her donation.