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Salesian Corner: Remembering Sister Mary Denise

A message from the Salesian Studies Office:

Visitation School welcomed home Sister Mary Denise Villaume and will celebrate her funeral mass Thursday in the Visitation Chapel. In the tradition of the Sisters, the bells tolled to mark Sister’s return to Visitation. Members of the Senior class stood as an Honor Guard to welcome the Visitation Sisters, the extended Villaume family and Sister Mary Denise.

Born Margaret Mary Villuame in 1938, Sister attended Visitation at 720 Fairmount and graduated in 1956.  She entered the community shortly after and professed her vows in 1959. Sister was trained in Montessori, received a Bachelor’s in elementary education and a Master’s in school administration. Sister Mary Denise directed the Lower School, Montessori, as well as helped establish the Extended Day and Early Childhood programs. Seeing her interactions with the younger students were lessons in the dignity she gave a preschooler or a Montessori student. Within the Mendota Heights Visitation community, Sister Mary Denise held many positions including Mother Superior for 25 years. She took care of the peacocks and would often collect strawberry stems from the dining room to give the peacocks a treat. Sister kept the secret recipe and made the famous Visitation caramels for many years.  She also served on several committees for the Second Federation of Visitation Sisters. In 2019, Sister Mary Denise moved to an assisted living home when the Mendota Heights monastery closed. Her heart always remained with Visitation. God called Sister home on January 25th and she was reunited with members of her beloved family and the Sisters of the Visitation who preceded her.

The one who is totally abandoned to heavenly Providence,
is unshakable in every kind of event:
she desires only God,
sees only God,
attaches herself
only to God,
and finally…
belongs to God.

Adapted from Selected Letters of Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, St. Jane de Chantal