Marlborough – Sister Rhea Lachapelle, a Sister of St. Anne, known in religion as Sister Louise Maria, died at the age of 92 at Marie Esther Health Center in this city Sunday, April 27, 2014 in the 71st year of vowed religious life.
She was born in Worcester, the only child of Omer and Gertrude (Dean) Lachapelle. She completed her elementary education in Worcester and obtained her high school diploma from the former Saint Anne Academy in Marlborough. She held undergraduate degrees in History and in Home Economics, and a Master's in Education in Family Living.
In 1940, she entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Saint Anne in Lachine, Quebec, and professed vows in 1942. Sister was an elementary, junior high, high school teacher, and administrator.
She taught for many years at the former St. Anthony's school and at St. Anne Academy in Marlborough. After 10 years as principal of Notre Dame High School in Central Falls, she was assigned to Anna Maria College as associate admissions officer and counselor.
Sr. Rhea was the founder and the first director of the Neighborhood Friendly Visitor Program, which continues to offer services to many of the elderly and homebound in the state of Rhode Island. She also founded the Service Respite Program which operated out of the Community Affairs Office of the Diocese of Providence.
Sr. Rhea belonged to numerous civic and professional associations, including Blackstone Valley Community Action Program, R.I. Association of Directors of Programs for the Elderly, Diocese of Providence Task Force for Elderly Programs, Alliance for Better Nursing Home Care, and Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers where she served as a member of their national board of directors. In addition to her civic affiliations, she served for several years on the Diocese of Providence Board of Education and on the diocesan Council for Religious and locally on the parish council.
Throughout her years in religious life, Sr. Rhea had been active on various committees and Boards of the Sisters of Saint Anne. For almost 40 years, she oversaw the summer residence at Fort Pond, Lancaster. In her early retirement years, she organized a Leisure and Learning Program at Marie Esther Health Center, in which religious from five communities participated.
She will be grieved by her Sisters of St. Anne Congregation, her close friend, Sister Rita DeRoy and many other friends, students and colleagues.
Calling hours will be held Wednesday, April 30, from 2 – 4 p.m.at the convent at 720 Boston Post Road East in Marlborough, followed by a prayer service in the chapel. The funeral liturgy will be celebrated Thursday, May 1, at 10 a.m., in the convent chapel.? Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Fitzgerald & Collins Funeral Home of Marlborough.
Donations can be made in Sr. Rhea Lachapelle's name to Marie Esther Health Center or to a charity of your choice.