Sister Maria Rabalais CSJ, a Sister of St. Joseph for 77 years, passed away at Mount St. Mary Convent in Wichita, Kansas, on Saturday, June 22 at the age of 94. 

Sister Maria, born in Simmesport, one of nine children of the late Blanche Guilbeau and Joseph Rabalais, was baptized Catherine Anne. Her brother Harold (Yvonne) lives in Houston. She was predeceased by four brothers James, Durwood, Anthony and Sims and three sisters Anelia Rabalais Gros, Mae Rabalais and Wilma Rabalais McLaughlin. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews. 

Sister Maria graduated from St. Joseph’s Academy in Baton Rouge and entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in New Orleans in 1942, professing perpetual vows in 1948. She attended Loyola University in New Orleans and earned a B.S. in Elementary Education and a Masters in Theology from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. 

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Sister Maria Rabalais CSJ

 

Sister Maria began as a primary teacher at St. Joseph Academy in New Roads in 1944 and taught elementary school for the next 30 years in New Roads, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, New Orleans, Harahan, Baton Rouge and Morgan City. She then ministered for 19 years as religious education coordinator and/or pastoral minister in the parishes of St. Patrick, St. Pius X and St. Jean Vianney, all in Baton Rouge, Our Lady of Prompt Succor Church in White Castle and St. John the Baptist Church in Zachary. 

After a sabbatical year, Sister Maria devoted herself to pastoral ministry at Sacred Heart Parish in Baton Rouge for 15 years. She retired to the Congregation of St. Joseph Center in Baton Rouge, maintaining strong connections with family, friends and colleagues. Health issues necessitated her move to Mount St. Mary Convent in December 2018. 

A funeral Mass was celebrated June 28 at Mount St. Mary and burial followed immediately in the convent cemetery. A memorial Mass will be held in Baton Rouge at a later date. 

Memorial donations may be made to the Sisters of St. Joseph at 3134 Hundred Oaks Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA. 70808.