Maryknoll, NY: Sister Andrée Bernadette Normandin, M.M. died on May 1st, 2020 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center in Maryknoll, NY. She was 97 years old had been a Maryknoll Sister for 73 years!
Andrée was born in Montréal, Canada on June 2nd, 1922 to Amelia (Collette) Normandin and George Normandin. She was the third oldest in a family of four boys and four girls, all of whom have pre-deceased her. When Andrée was five months old her family moved to Fitchburg, MA; she became a U.S. Citizen on December 8th, 1944.
From 1936-1940, Andrée attended St. Bernard’s High School in Fitchburg, MA. Following graduation, she worked as a company secretary for six years before entering the Maryknoll Sisters Novitiate in Maryknoll, NY on October 5th, 1946. She made her First Profession of Vows at the Maryknoll Sisters Center on April 6th, 1949 and her Final Vows on April 6th, 1952 also at the Sisters Center.
Sister Andrée attended Yale University to study Mandarin from 1949-1951. She had hopes of being assigned to China, however, there was a ban admitting foreigners to the country at that time. She instead worked at the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers as a Secretary from 1951-1954.
In 1954, Sister Andrée finally received her first overseas mission assignment to Taiwan, there she first studied the Taiwanese language for one year. In 1955, she began her ministry at the Religious Educator Training School in Changhua, conducting classes on music and “teaching methods”. During this time, she also engaged in pastoral and catechetical work in various local villages.
Sister Andrée relocated to the mountain area of Wu She, there she continued training future teachers by conducting “teaching method workshops” from 1960-1966. She was then assigned to the Maryknoll Sisters Hostel in Taichung to work with young women residents from 1967-1971. While on mission in Taichung, she also served as the Congregation’s Coordinator and Regional Board Member for the Sisters Taiwan Region.
In 1971, Sister Andrée returned to the U.S. to further her education at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Asian Studies in 1975. She also took a CPE Course (Pastoral Education) for 11 weeks at Central Islip Hospital in Long Island and served as a Coordinator at the Maryknoll Sisters Center from 1974-1975.
Sister Andrée returned to Taiwan in 1976, she began a new mission working among young factory workers in Kaohsiung. In 1978, she joined the Pastoral Care Team at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Kaohsing, serving as Chaplain caring for terminally ill patients. She also helped the team open Samaritan Home in 1980 (a group home for unwed mothers in need). In 1983, Sister Andrée was appointed as Director of the Pastoral Care Department at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Assistant Director of Samaritan Home until 1990.
She was called back to the U.S. and spent the next nine years serving as Coordinator of Maryknoll Sisters house in Monrovia, CA until 1999. Once again she then returned to Taiwan, this time her mission work involved helping AIDS patients in need. She also spent her time working on a Maryknoll archives project, where she researched and wrote the Congregation’s entire Taiwan region history.
In 2004, Sister Andrée retired at the Maryknoll Sisters House in Monrovia, CA. She remained an active volunteer in the local community, volunteering at the Monrovia Civic Community Works and served as the Maryknoll Guild Contact Person. In 2014, she fully retired and relocated to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY.
Funeral Services: Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, funeral services will be scheduled for a date in the future when group gatherings are deemed safe. Sister Andrée’s family and our community remember her spirit in prayer during this difficult time.