May They Rest in Peace: Sr. Cecile Thibodeau, CSJ

Sr. Cecile Thibodeau, CSJ, entered into eternal life on April 12, 2021. 

A Memorial Mass will be live-streamed at St. Thomas More Church, Kalamazoo, on Friday, April 16, at 10 a.m. followed by burial in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Nazareth Center, Kalamazoo. Memorial Services in Holy Family Chapel will be held at a later date. 

A Memorial Mass will be live-streamed at St. Thomas More Church, Kalamazoo, on Friday, April 16, at 10 a.m.
Sr. Cecile Thibodeau, CSJ

Cecile Thibodeau was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 11, 1920, the daughter of Harvey and Anna Catherine (Bruley) Thibodeau. She was a member of St. James Parish in Ferndale at the time of her entrance into the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Nazareth, Mich., on June 21, 1929. She received the name Sister Marie Alphonse at her reception on Jan. 8, 1940, but later returned to the use of her baptismal name. She pronounced first vows on Jan. 9, 1942 and final vows on Jan. 9, 1945. 

Sister Cecile earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Science from Nazareth College and a Master of Arts degree in Mathematics from the University of Notre Dame. For thirty years Sister Cecile taught in high schools of the congregation including: St. Mary School in Flint, St. Benedict School in Highland Park and Gabriel Richard High School in Riverview, Michigan. For six years she served as the principal at St. Rita High School in Detroit. She then ministered as the SSJ Regional Coordinator in the Detroit area followed by involvement in Parish Ministry at St. Joseph Parish in Trenton, Michigan. Sister Cecile moved to Nazareth in 1979 and worked for eight years in the SSJ Business Office. She then worked as a patient receptionist at Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo. When she retired she continued to offer her services at Fontbonne Manor and Nazareth Center. Flexibility borne of trust and fidelity to her God and the Congregation freed Sister Cecile to serve in a variety of ways over the years. 

Sister Cecile’s personality reflected a gentle peacefulness and her gracious smile and presence radiated the deep love she had for the people of God. Her generous service, prayerfulness and loyalty endeared her to all with whom she lived and worked. She was most grateful to her family, community, friends and students for their support which enabled her to be more, do more, and appreciate more the many blessings in her life. Two favorite hymns which held special significance for her were “Here I Am, Lord” and “City of God” because they placed the offering of self for the love of God and the building of the kingdom in the context of community. Sister Cecile’s selfless, patient, compassionate spirit influenced the lives of all who knew her. May Sister Cecile now enjoy a place of light, happiness and peace in God’s kingdom of glory forever.

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