A funeral Mass for Sister Marie de Montfort Deken, CSJ, was celebrated June 11 at Nazareth Living Center Chapel in south St. Louis County. Sister Marie, who was a teacher, pastoral minister and pharmacist assistant, died June 3.
She was born Sept. 3, 1929, in St. Louis and baptized Patricia Annette. Two of her siblings entered religious life: her sister, Charlotte (Sister Cornelius Deken, CSJ), and her brother, Justin, who entered the Franciscans.
Sister Marie entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and received the habit and name Sister Marie De Montfort on Aug. 15, 1951.
She earned a degree in elementary education from Fontbonne College, and taught primary and intermediate grades from 1953-88. In St. Louis, she taught at St. Matthew the Apostle School in St. Louis, Sts. John and James in Ferguson, Holy Guardian Angels in St. Louis, St. Joseph’s Home for Boys in St. Louis, St. Joseph’s Academy Convent, Holy Family in St. Louis and St. Luke in St. Louis. She also taught in Littleton, Colo., Mobile, Ala., and Chicago.
Her quiet manner and kind ways touched the lives of many young children, and she set an excellent example for other primary teachers on how to discipline and organize the classroom. Parents commented on her patience, especially with those students who had learning disabilities. She was always willing to give extra help to those who needed it.
After ending her teaching ministry, she joined the staff at her home parish, St. Anthony of Padua, in 1991 and served as the sacristan there. In 1997, she volunteered at Resurrection Parish in pastoral ministry. In 1998, she volunteered as a pharmacist assistant to Winkelmann Drug Company and assistant to the coordinator of the CSJ Care Program.
In 2001, she begin a ministry of prayer at St. John the Baptist Parish in St. Louis and spent many hours in prayer, especially for the evangelization efforts of the parish. She sought out the pastor, then-Father Edward Rice, to be her spiritual director. Even when he became a bishop, he continued to meet with Sister Marie and direct her in her efforts to draw closer and closer to Our Lord.
In July of 2014, Sister Marie moved to Nazareth to continue her ministry of prayer and witness.
She is survived by two sisters, Mary Lou Deken and Anita Milner, both of St. Louis. Burial was in Calvary Cemetery.