July 25, 1904 – January 8, 1998
“Witnessing to the Resurrection” is a great and wonderful theme in the Acts of the Apostles. Beautifully and well did Sister Dominic Marie’s life and apostolic labors emulate those of the early followers of Christ.
She was tireless in her zeal wherever she was missioned: to Michigan’s Wonderland, to the Canadian prairies, and to the Land of Sunshine in New Mexico. She ever remained her sweet, gentle, happy, and fun-loving self during all of her long years of arduous service. Truly she was a good advertisement for religious life!
Life for her began at Provemont (now Lake Leelanau) on July 25, 1904 when she became the fourteenth child of a family of ten boys and four girls born to Thomas and Rosina Denoyer Plamondon. At her Baptism on August 7, 1904 at St. Mary Church in Lake Leelanau, she received the name of Lydia Elizabeth. At this same church at the age of seven, she received her First Holy Communion and then in 1912 she was confirmed there by Bishop H. J. Richter. Her education, prior to entering the Dominicans, was at St. Mary School where she was taught by the Grand Rapids Dominicans.
Lydia was fortunate and blessed to have been a member of a staunch Christian family where faith, hope, and charity were the foundation stones. Her first desire to become a religious was at the age of seven when her sister, Sister Anna, entered our Community. Sister Rose Mary, an older sister, had already become a member. Five years later Lydia went to Sister Anna’s Profession of Vows at St. John’s Home, Grand Rapids, and the ceremony, especially the Gregorian Chant, made such an impression on her that she wanted to enter our Community immediately, and as soon as she arrived home, she shared this with her mother whose response was that she would put nothing in her way.
Shortly after this, Sisters Rose Mary and Anna came home for a visit, and Lydia wanted to go back with them. The preparations for her entrance were speedily made. A telegram was sent to Grand Rapids for permission to enter our Community. The things she needed to bring were readily available in her father’s store. When she arrived in Grand Rapids, she spent two weeks at St. Anthony Convent where Sister Rose Mary made her clothes.
Her entrance to the novitiate at St. John’s Home was on September 7, 1921 where Sister Albertina Selhuber, the novice mistress, greeted her. She received St. Dominic’s white habit and the name of Sister Dominic Marie of the Blessed Sacrament on August 18, 1922. Her residence became Marywood, the newly built Motherhouse. On August 18, 1925 Sister Dominic Marie made her first Profession of Vows to Mother Benedicta O’Rourke. Her Final Profession of Vows was made to Mother Eveline Mackey on August 18, 1931.
Mission life for Sister Dominic Marie began at Holy Trinity, Alpine in 1923 and continued until June 1, 1990 at St. Joseph, Wright. During her years on the missions, in addition to Alpine and Wright, Sister was assigned to the following places: St. Boniface, Bay City (two intervals); St. Norbert, Munger; St. Henry, Melville, Saskatchewan, Canada; St. Alphonsus, Grand Rapids; St. Mary Magdalen, Melvindale; Our Lady of Belen, San Juan Pueblo and St. Anthony, Penasco in New Mexico; St. Joseph, Pewamo; Holy Rosary Academy, Bay City; Immaculate Heart of Mary, Grand Rapids; and St. Mary, Saginaw. Sister was an elementary teacher and for several years, along with her teaching, served in administration.
Her seven years in Canada were indeed years of challenge and suffering. Her parents had left Lake Leelanau in 1923 to join the many Plamondons who had established Plamondon, Alberta, in Canada, and it was while on a home visit in 1930 that she and Sister Anna were told that they were assigned to Melville in Saskatchewan, Canada which was about a thousand miles from Plamondon. Their trunks did not arrive until May! Sister Dominic Marie always loved people and community and this isolation was indeed a cross, but the climax came when she needed to become a Canadian citizen in order to continue teaching there. She was a real missionary. In addition to the catechetical instructions at Melville, the Sisters traveled hundred of miles during the summer to teach Catechism in outlying places. Many of our present Sisters were the beneficiaries of their missionary labors.
Sister Dominic Marie was a much loved and excellent teacher and administrator. She had a way with children, and this was especially true with teenagers. Convent living, too, was enriched by her ready willingness “to pitch in.” Her loving, pleasant, and jovial disposition was a gift. On numerous occasions she was the source of entertainment with her impersonations, a favorite of which was when she put on a Native American costume and performed Indian dances. Her interest in dancing had a long history, but it was her six years at San Juan Pueblo that made her the master performer of Indian dances. In her later years, both at St. Mary, Saginaw and St. Joseph, Wright, she taught folk and square dancing as a part of the school curriculum. In 1986 when the teaching of dancing became too much for her, she continued to prepare the students for reading at the children’s Liturgies and she did an excellent job. On June 1, 1990, after twelve happy years at St. Joseph, Wright, where she was so dearly loved by the students and the parishioners, Sister moved to Aquinata Hall. The Sunday before at receptions for Sister Dominic Marie after both Masses she was greeted with warm and fond farewells.
In 1982 at the time of her Diamond Jubilee, Sister Dominic Marie wrote, “I am most grateful to God and His Blessed Mother for blessing me with good health and strength to continue for a little while longer. I wish to thank the Sisters with whom I had the privilege to live and those who have been so kind, considerate, and concerned about my well-being. May God bless you all.” And now that our dear Lord has called Sister Dominic Marie to a richer and more abundant life for all eternity, we rejoice with her, and we give praise and thanks to God for the goodness of her life. May she rest in God’s peace, love, and joy.
Sister Dominic Marie is survived by several nieces, nephews, and many friends. One of her nieces is Sister Dorothy Plamondon in our Community.
Entered eternal life on January 8, 1998 at the age of 93 after 76 years of religious life
We commend Sister Dominic Marie to your prayers.