sister teresa lawrence deroche

November 10, 1932 - October 30, 2016

A woman of gratitude, generosity and kindness. 

On November 10, 1932, Lawrence and Mildred (La Joie) DeRoche of Ishpeming, Michigan, welcomed Angela Helen, the third of their 11 children. As she recalled her childhood, she said, “We were poor, but we were very, very happy people.” After attending St. John’s Grade School (staffed by our CSJ sisters), she graduated from Ishpeming High School and found full-time work as a telephone operator. 
When she realized God was calling her to religious life, she sought the approval of her parents and then contacted the sisters at St. John’s parish. Sister Silveria Kunkel was the superior and principal there. “The sisters were wonderful,” said S. Teresa. “They made my sweater. They made my shawl. They made my skirts. They did everything.” At the same time, the sisters were helping two other young women—Sisters Marilyn Poirier and Rosemary Junak. 
Angela found leaving her parents difficult. She didn’t know when they would ever get to visit her in St. Louis. Sister Silveria traveled to St. Louis with the three young women. She arranged for someone to meet them and accommodations for the night. For a day and a half, they visited various convents as well as the New Cathedral, Forest Park and Fontbonne campus. Postulant Mistress Sister Rose Adele Schuerman welcomed them when they arrived at Carondelet. The next morning, a sister arrived to show them around and stay with them until the other new postulants arrived. It was September 15, 1952. Angela received the habit and the name Sister Teresa Lawrence on March 19, 1953. Fontbonne College awarded her a bachelor’s degree in education in 1960.
For 14 years, beginning in 1955, she taught primary grades at: St. Vincent De Paul, St. Louis; St. Mary Cathedral, Peoria, Illinois (1961); St. Joseph/St. Patrick, Hancock, Michigan (1966); St. Patrick, Denver, Colorado (1967); and St. Edward, St. Louis (1968). 
Sister Ida Berresheim says:
I lived with Sister Teresa Lawrence on her first mission, St. Vincent's. The sweetness which [she] manifested throughout her life was very much present in her youth … Sister Teresa was also a lovely presence in the local community, willing to do whatever needed doing. 
In 1969, Sister Teresa became a staff member at Carondelet Day Care Center in St. Louis. Next, she taught at Bishop Baraga Central in Marquette, Michigan (1971), and then briefly at St. Paul in Negaunee, Michigan (1973), before returning to Missouri, where she was a tutor at St. Gregory in St. Ann. She spent 1976 as a volunteer at St. Joseph Hospital in Kirkwood, Missouri. From 1977 to 1984, Sister Teresa tutored at Sacred Heart School in Shawano, Wisconsin. 
In 1984, Sister Teresa Lawrence retired to Nazareth Living Center for a ministry of prayer and presence. She spent her time finding ways to serve where help was needed. Reflecting on her life at Nazareth, she said:
I just want to say that I have never changed my feelings about Nazareth. It’s one of the God places that we have. It’s just beautiful, the spirit is … I just want to thank all of our sisters for all they have done for me. I really appreciate everything that the community has done and I mean this from the bottom of my heart.
Associate Maggie Lambi writes:
I am sorry to hear of the passing of Sister Teresa Lawrence DeRoche. She was my pen pal. She did send me a few letters penned by a companion … We shared common interests. We prayed for each other. And as the years rolled on, I continued to send her cards. I met her when I visited Nazareth … Her face lit up when she learned I was her pen pal. She was a lovely and dear woman, full of the spirit. 
Helen Oates, CSJ 
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