Sr. Rita Marie Chauvin (also known as Sr. Leocadie), a Marianite of Holy Cross, was born September 26, 1924 in Houma, Louisiana to Columbus Chauvin (Chauvin, La.) and Hazel LeBlanc Chauvin (Grand Caillou, La.). She died April 10, 2018. She is survived by her sister Hazel Chauvin Burst of Mandeville, La., and numerous nieces, nephews and their families. Two brothers and a sister preceded her in death: Donald Chauvin, James Chauvin and Doris Chauvin Boudreaux.
She entered the Marianites of Holy Cross September 8, 1940, pronouncing perpetual vows August 11, 1946. Sr. Rita Marie received a Master of Education degree from Incarnate Word College, San Antonio, Texas, spending much of her life ministering as an educator. During her early years as a Marianite, she taught 23 years in several elementary schools in Louisiana: Academy of the Immaculate Conception (Opelousas); St. John (Plaquemine); Sacred Heart (Ville Platte); Holy Cross (Morgan City); and in New Orleans at St. Cecilia, Incarnate Word and Sts. Peter and Paul.
She spent 17 years ministering as a principal at two New Orleans’ elementary schools: St. Cecilia and Our Lady of Divine Providence. In 1985 the Marianites called her to community service as a driver, transporting Sisters to doctor’s appointments and to wherever their needs called her to go. When she retired in 2005 she continued to reside at Our Lady of Holy Cross Convent in New Orleans until her path crossed that of Hurricane Katrina’s, forcing her to flee with her Marianite companions to Opelousas and life at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Convent. Her final ministry was one of prayer and presence at Our Lady of Wisdom Health Care Center, New Orleans, from 2010 until the time of her death. Living in New Orleans afforded her sister Hazel the opportunity to visit frequently, bearing many times a box of Popeye’s fried chicken.
For as long as her health permitted, she continued to follow her strict prayer schedule even after entering the heath care center, toting all her prayer books on her scooter to the chapel to pray for an hour before attending daily Mass. She firmly believed in Lubriderm as a cure for just about anything, loved the New Orleans’ Saints, attending many games as a guest of Mr. Benson, and like many in south Louisiana, would have eaten gumbo or fried oysters almost every day if she could have. In 2015 she celebrated joyfully her 75th Jubilee of religious life with her Marianite Sisters, family, friends and former ministry companions.
The Marianites of Holy Cross offer gratitude to the administrations and staff members at Our Lady of Wisdom Health Care Center and Notre Dame Hospice.
On Monday, April 16, visitation will begin at 9:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Wisdom Healthcare Center (5600 General de Gaulle, New Orleans, 70131) followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m. Interment is immediately after the Mass at the Marianite mausoleum adjacent to Wisdom. A reception follows at Our Lady of Wisdom. In lieu of flowers, thank you for offering donations to the Marianites of Holy Cross (21388 Smith Road, Covington, LA 70435) www.marianites.org