1922 ~ 2020
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Sisters of St. Mary, 909 W. Shaw St., Fort Worth, TX 76110-4057.
Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, her wake and funeral services will be in private at Our Lady of Victory Center. However, the Funeral Mass will be live-streamed at 10:00 AM Friday, November 20, 2020 by Sister Clara at her address: facebook.clara vo. To view later, please use the facebook address for Sisters of St. Mary, Western Province.
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Sister Frances Joan Vuillemin was born in Waco, Texas, one of five daughters and three brothers. Her father August, a noted contractor, built at least six churches including St. Francis on the Brazos in Waco. This is a replica of the famous San José mission in San Antonio. Sister described how he and the family would always inspect the on-going work on their way home from Mass each Sunday.
Sister grew up during the Great Depression and was always very thrifty. Some of her art projects included making flowers from scraps of paper and using the sticks from kebabs for the stems.
Sister was an artist and an excellent primary teacher in many of the schools staffed by the Sisters of St. Mary in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, as well as in Hollister, CA. While in California, she had the opportunity of studying with the noted artist Corita Kent.
She became even busier during her “retirement” years as she volunteered at both Our Mother of Mercy Catholic School and St. Andrew Catholic School as art teacher.
In January, 1995, she, Sr. St. John Begnaud, and Sr. Cecile Faget volunteered to go to war-torn Rwanda to work with our Sisters there as they tried to recreate the schools and missions which had been destroyed during the genocide.
Some items in the newsletters sent back to Texas describe how she worked very hard to learn French, and at the same time her little pupils wanted to learn English. She would say, “Bon jour,” and they would reply, “Good-d-day, Sistah.” Sr. Cecile told of Sr. Frances taking the pre-school and kindergarten children for art lessons. The little two- and three- year olds would begin to cry, so she would gather them all up to come too!
For this work, she and the other two Sisters received the Dorothy Day Award from the Diocese of Fort Worth.
Upon returning to Texas, she volunteered in the mentoring program at both the Women’s Federal Prison and the Tarrant County Jail. The latter gave her an award in 2019 for 23 years of spiritual service each week in their program.
Sister is survived by two brothers in Arizona, a niece in Waco, numerous great-nephews and great-nieces and the Sisters of her religious community.