Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletApril 10, 2021

In Remembrance

Sister Theresa Fournier, CSJ


Sister Theresa Fournier, CSJ, 93, died Friday, December 18, 2020 at St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham, NY. She had been a Sister for 77 years: 46 years as a Sister of Charity of St. Louis and 31 years as a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

Sister Theresa was born on September 23, 1927, in Peasleeville, NY, daughter of the late Paul and Florence Sears Fournier. She was a member of Assumption of Mary Parish in Rexford, NY, and a graduate of Our Lady of Victory Academy in Plattsburgh. Sister Theresa entered the Sisters of Charity of St. Louis in Plattsburgh on February 11, 1943 and professed perpetual vows on August 15, 1952. On June 12, 1989, Sister Theresa canonically transferred her perpetual vows to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

Sister Theresa received a bachelor’s degree in social studies from The College of Saint Rose, a master’s degree in history and doctorate in history/political science, both from Middle Tennessee State University. For 21 years, Sister Theresa taught students in junior high in various schools in the Ogdensburg Diocese. After completing her doctorate, Sister Theresa began teaching history on the college level at Clinton County Community College, Plattsburgh; Maria Regina College, Syracuse; and Utica College and Mohawk Valley Community College, both in Utica, NY.

Sister Theresa was a storyteller par excellence. Whether she was describing growing up in a big family in the North Country or telling tales of being a novice in religious life in the 1940s or describing an incident in her classroom, Sister Theresa could engage and interact with her listeners who would be laughing or crying or overall spellbound. With her natural gift, Sister Theresa’s stories became a shared experience and, although she did most of the talking, the audience felt as though they were active participants being invited in!

Sister Theresa’s gift for storytelling was carried into her teaching of history. In the middle or high school classroom or in the college lecture hall, Sister Theresa was able to share both her knowledge of history and her passion for teaching to encourage her students to collect, understand and process information in order to see the larger story.

Sister Theresa’s storytelling talents helped her students to learn, not only a list of fragmented elements of the past but also to bridge the gap between “then and now” and connect the past to the present; in other words, to make history come alive!

Sister Theresa was a lifelong learner with a passion for sharing her gifts. She leaves us a legacy of gratitude for life and generosity of spirit, and we will miss her greatly.

Sister Theresa is survived by her brother, Gilbert Fournier of Rouses Point, NY; her sister, Anna Gleason of Bellevue, NE; many nieces and nephews and their families; and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her brothers, Eugene, Lee and Arthur Fournier; and her sisters, Ethel Fournier, Doris Duffina and Gladys Brousseau.

Due to the continued health concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no public funeral services for Sister Theresa at this time. A Memorial Mass will be scheduled at a later date.