Sister Louise Notaro, MM
Born: April 1, 1926
Entered: September 6, 1950
Died: March 17, 2010
It was a joy for the Sisters who entered Maryknoll with Sister Louise Notaro when she was well enough to join them in celebrating their 60th Jubilee Year in Maryknoll on February 14, 2010. She was present for the Eucharistic celebration and the festive meal in the dining room. Sister Louise had been a member of the Rogers-Center community since 2001. Aware of her failing health and diminished energy Sister had transferred to the Maryknoll Sisters Residential Care III where she died peacefully on March 17, 2010, shortly before our morning Liturgy.
For her last nine years at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, she taught English as a second language to some of our co-workers, and to Chinese Sisters and priests who resided at Maryknoll for summer and winter holidays while studying in the States. Some of the Chinese students have already sent condolences expressing their gratitude and promise of prayers. They considered her a wonderful tutor and very generous with her time. In her last months at the Center, she “gave a listening ear to those around her,” often sharing that she was nearing death. She sat in the sun outside the MRC entrance greeting all who came and went, described by one as “caring about people with a depth of interest.”
Sister Louise herself wrote, “Words cannot express the fabulous life I have led and have already been rewarded a hundred fold. I have worked hard and earned a living both for my own family, especially after WWII, and my Maryknoll family.”
Louise Giovannina Notaro was born on April 1, 1926, to Antoinette (Ancioni) and Antonio Notaro in Kensington, CT. Her parents and two of her sisters predeceased her. She is survived by one sister, who is unable to be with us today.
After graduating from Berlin High School, Berlin, CT, Louise worked as a secretary and teller in Berlin Savings Bank from 1943 to 1950 to help the family. She entered Maryknoll on September 6, 1950, from St. Paul’s Parish in Kensington, CT. She received the name, Sister Anthony Mary but she later returned to her Baptismal name. She made her First Vows on March 7, 1953, and Final Vows on the same date in 1959.
Sister Louise spent sixteen years in Latin America: ten in Guatemala, two in Mexico and four in Peru. Assigned to Guatemala in 1959, she taught one year in the primary section and later in the secondary section of Monte Maria, the Maryknoll Sisters School, in Guatemala City. She also taught in the Liceo Javier, the neighboring Jesuit secondary school. In addition she supervised students who taught catechism in a public school once a week, and twice a week she worked at the Apostolic Nunciature as an English secretary.
In October 1969, Sister Louise moved to Mexico City where she taught in the Maryknoll Sisters bilingual school, Helena Herlihy Hall. In the evenings she traveled to a parish where she visited the women in their homes. This ministry developed into small groups for Bible study and youth groups.
In 1972, she accepted an invitation from the Maryknoll Sisters in Peru to work in Arequipa to teach English, a required subject in Peru, and religion in the local high school, Colegio Nacional de Mujeres, Nuestra Senora de los Dolores. To make learning English easier, she used her guitar and taught songs in English. She also served as a guidance counselor.
Sister Louise’s passion for and dedication to teaching was evident in every country where she served. She carefully prepared her classes; took interest in individual students, and was always available and approachable. She visited homes to get to know her students and their families. She was blessed with a delightful sense of humor and artistic talent for arranging bulletin boards as well as flowers for community celebrations. She spent time in continuing education after receiving her B.E. from Mary Rogers College, and studied Spanish and culture in both Guatemala and Mexico.
Sister Louise came to Japan as a seasoned missioner in 1980. After language study and teaching at Maryknoll Girls School, in Yokkaichi, she found her place of ministry in 1984, teaching English at Sophia University in Tokyo. After retiring from Sophia University Sister Louise took over Sister Kathieen Reiley’s class at Tokyo Rissho Junior College for Women from 1993 to 1998. During her time in Tokyo, Sister Louise was active among expatriate women. The College Women’s Association of Japan, Japan Association of Language Teachers and parent effectiveness training are but some of the activities with which she was involved. Louise was a person who was not afraid to ‘think outside of the box’. This enabled her to challenge those she taught and those with whom she lived.
When Father Taka Yamaguchi, a former English student from Sophia, now a parish priest in Kamakura, heard the news of Sister Louise’s passing, he immediately offered Mass for her. Francis Mathy, S.J., wrote on behalf of the Jesuits on the Sophia University campus in Tokyo, “I offer you our most heartfelt condolences on the death of Sister Louise who taught English at the university for some eleven years. She was not only an excellent teacher, but she also had a very great personal influence on the students she taught…” Our own Sister Teruko Ito shared, “I have a special regard for Louise in my Maryknoll history. It was she who connected me to Guatemala years ago. And she was very instrumental in helping me find a new direction in Maryknoll. Now she can continue in a very special way to send new energy to many of us in mission together with all the other great missioners in Heaven
We are happy to welcome Sister’s brother-in-law, her nieces, nephews, and grandnieces.
We also welcome and thank our Maryknoll brother, Fr. Joseph LaMar, M.M., who will preside at our Liturgy of Christian Burial.