Mary Alfred Guillard, IBVM
Entered Life - September 13, 1927
Entered Religious Life - January 18, 1945
Entered Eternal Life - February 13, 2020
“Love Serves!” Sister Mary Alfred chose those two words as her motto to lead and guide her throughout her life’s journey as a member of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary. That journey was long (75 years) and full of new ministries, new places to live, and new people to meet along the way. Her mission was to bring God’s love and compassion everywhere she was sent and that was exactly what she did.
Sister Mary began her ministry in Sault Ste. Marie, MI, where she studied and worked with the IBVM Sisters at Loretto Academy. It was there that Mary added to the cooking skills that her mother taught her and learned how to “fix” things. From there she went to Loretto Woodlawn to complete her high school years and to learn more about cooking, cleaning and fixing things, caring for the sick and elderly sisters, and learning how to plan and to care for the nutritional needs of the sisters and high school students.
Throughout her life, Sister Mary used all that she had learned and the skills that she had developed in ministries that took her to Loretto Abbey in Canada, St. Bride in Chicago, Wheaton, and Casa San Carlo in Northlake. Besides household and school ministries, Sister Mary added three more. She studied theology at St. Norbert’s in Wisconsin to be a catechist, she served at Loretto Convent in Wheaton as sacristan and in Loretto Extension as a secretarial assistant. Where did Sister Mary find her inspiration, her energy and her openness to the new ministries, places and people she met along the way? She was faithful to daily prayer and her motto.
On February 20, 2020, Sister Mary Alfred’s IBVM Sisters and Companions, family members, and many friends from Loretto Wheaton and Casa San Carlo gathered to celebrate her life at Our Lady of the Angels Chapel in Wheaton. She had chosen her own readings and songs for the liturgy. Her choices tell us much about Sister Mary.
In her first reading she set her theme: “See what love God has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like God, for we shall see God as God is.”
Early in the morning on February 13, 2020, Mary experienced for the first time what she had been longing for and hoping for. She met her God, face to face! The God who formed her, loved her, cherished her and walked with her throughout her long 92 years of life met her and welcomed her. How excited and happy she must have been that she finally arrived home!
-Kay Foley, IBVM