Sister Adrian Marie Berube, MM

Born: August 22, 1909
Entered: June 10, 1937
Died: June 21, 1975

On Monday, June 23, 1975, we celebrated the Mass of the Resurrection for Sister Adrian Marie Berube in the Bethany Chapel. Sister Adrian Marie had gone to God very early, around 1:30 a.m., on Saturday.

Sister Adrian Marie, christened Octavia Marie Berube, was born in Providence, Rhode Island on August 22, 1909, The early desire for religious life led her briefly to join the Blauvelt Dominicans; but she was soon convinced “that God is calling me to another religious community.” The Blauvelt Dominicans were sorry to lose her because they wrote, “she seems to possess all the necessary qualities for becoming a good religious.” Searching for her new religious community, Octavia Marie wrote to Mother Mary Joseph and on June 9, 1937 she entered Maryknoll. At her reception she was given the name Adrian Marie, a name she kept until her death, perhaps out of devotion for Father Adrian English, 0.P., who had been to her – as a young girl, and throughout her illness – a devoted counsellor and faithful friend. On January 6, 1940 Sister made her first vows, Her final vows were made on January 6,
1943 at Monrovia.

Octavia Marie was already a registered nurse when she entered Maryknoll. She had received her nursing training at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Providence. She loved nursing, but for reasons, which only faith can reconcile, she was unable to exercise for any length of time this work of mercy so dear to her heart.

Her life, before she entered Maryknoll, gave no indication of an impending illness. She had planned for herself a long active nursing ministry within the Maryknoll Community. From the outset of her religious life, however, Sister Adrian Marie was plagued with illnesses and it soon became clear, that she would have to let herself be guided by faith; that she would have to let go many times and put herself in hands other than those of her own design; and be girded with a cincture not of her choosing.

In her earliest years in the Community, became very ill. She went to Monrovia for treatment. In 1942 at Monrovia, her superior wrote of her, “Her zeal for souls and personal holiness that manifested itself in a vivacious manner before… has now changed to a thoughtfulness of others that is rarely seen in the sick.”

Shortly after she recuperated, she discovered that the health of both her father and mother was deteriorating. She visited them. The impact of her visits and their suffering took its toll. From 1948 until her death, Sister’s health declined. When she returned to health, she accepted with equanimity and peaceful understanding.

By nature Sister Adrian Marie was given to buoyancy and vivacity, to activity and joviality. However, those who knew her well realize how much she knew of pain and how aware she was that for her there was no escape from it. She had learned through pain her own dependence and her personal helplessness, and had recognized long ago that it is God alone who saves. Her frequent illness had made the will of God an all-embracing concern in her life. She even wearied her companions at times with her insistence that God’s will is everything, and that fidelity to that will means being ready to sacrifice and imitate the Master in suffering and death. Her attitude was, “My suffering? For what it’s worth, take it, Lord, and use it!”

The quality so much appreciated by her superior at Monrovia was also appreciated by the nurses who served her during her last illness, when she constantly demonstrated her selflessness. She was very careful not to make demands on anyone. This beautiful attitude spoke more eloquently of her love for God’s will than all the words she had ever spoken about it during her years of activity.

Most of her missionary life was spent on the West Coast where she worked in Monrovia, Seattle and Mountain View. Her body now rests here at Maryknoll in the peace that comes to those who faithfully follow the Lord.

In that sisterly affection which unites all of us under God and with one another in our Maryknoll Community please remember Sister through the celebration of the Eucharist and your prayers.