Sister Rita Rivet
“ Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep .” (Romans 12:15)
On July 13, 2023, Sister Rita Rivet,
in religion M.-Marcel-Bernard,
went home to God.
She was 98 years old, with 72 years as a professed religious.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, she was the 6th of the 15 children born to
Siméon Rivet and Marie-Anne Larose.
Rita was baptized and grew up in St. Anselm Parish, in the south-cental region of Montreal. She testified that it was in her family that she learned
“human and spiritual values that build character: acceptance and respect of the other, the free gift of self, and the joy of living a full life with good humour and simplicity.”
When she finished her studies, she worked as a secretary for five years before entering the novitiate of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, at the age of 24.
After her two years of initial formation, Rita, now Sister Marcel-Bernard, was sent to teach young children in the primary classes at Saint Emelie Boarding School and then at Saint-Nom-de- Marie. After furthering her studies, Rita used her skills to teach high school students in the public school system: Boucher-de-la-Bruère, Contrecœur, and Marie-Reine. She then specialized in Mathematics and taught for 15 years at Édouard-Montpetit Comprehensive High School and then at Collège Durocher.
In all, she taught for 35 years, during which time she was also assistant for the Young Catholic Student Association and actively involved in her community as a member of the social committee, of local and provincial councils, and of various congregational networks. Wherever she was, Rita radiated good humour, with a contagious laugh and a care for others that was marked by gentleness and foresight.
After the 1986 General Chapter, Rita was asked to become the personal secretary of the general superior. For twenty years she offered her collaboration and support to three successive general superiors.
“Sister Rita was attentive to the needs of her superiors, compassionate as they faced the problems inherent in their responsibilities. Ever discreet and watchful, she lightened their task, and sustained them with her reassuring presence.”
As time went by, Sr. Rita’s strength diminished. However, with a lessened workload, Rita was able to continue her ministry, working as a receptionist with her usual humility and affability. She was also always ready to help any sisters who needed help in writing or composing. In 2021, Rita was welcomed into the infirmary where she took an interest in the nursing staff and in all her companions, as well as in the members of her family, who gladly returned the favor.