August 20, 1916 - November 8, 2014
Born in Hoople, North Dakota (near present day Grand Forks), Sister Mary Dorothy LeDiard was the third generation of her family to live in the northern plains. Her mother’s family had strong French-Canadian roots. They emigrated from Quebec to North Dakota Territory in 1883 and were founding members of the little town of Olga. Her father, born and raised in Abbeville, France, immigrated to the United States as a young man and Mary Dorothy regretted the fact that she never knew much about his family. The oldest of five children, Mary Dorothy was just three and a half when the third child, a brother named Joseph Oscar, died at the age of six weeks. The fifth child, Donald, died as the result of a hit and run accident one month before his ninth birthday. These early losses helped strengthen the qualities of compassion and care for others that were to such a part of Mary Dorothy.
Mary Dorothy started her education at St. Michael School in Grafton, North Dakota. Her family moved to Columbus, Ohio in 1925 where she attended Sacred Heart School, then St. Aloysius School. It was at St. Aloysius that she met the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. She graduated from Holy Family High School in Columbus in 1936. It was the height of the depression, and her brother had just died. At Holy Family she had followed a course in business so Mary Dorothy went to work as a typist and file clerk at Oliver Farm Equipment. Her salary helped her family as did her continued presence with them. It was not until 1942 that she responded to God’s call by entering the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur where she became known as Sister Florence Cecilia.
Reading and religion were Sister Mary Dorothy’s two favorite teaching fields. Her many years of teaching the early primary grades helped her to become an excellent teacher of reading skills and provided her with the joy of preparing children to receive the sacraments. She described herself as more effective with younger children where she felt she could use her talents to entice them to learn and develop their God-given gifts. In spite of feeling so at home in the primary grades she accepted a call to serve at Hartley High School. She brushed off her typing and clerical skills to be of assistance in the office and worked with students who needed extra help with reading. At Hartley she was pleasantly surprised to find in the high schoolers an enthusiasm for learning that provided a path for her to companion them and to help them uncover hidden potential for academic success. Sometimes their enthusiasm even bubbled over into spontaneous hugs and kisses when they succeeded in the tasks she set for them. Sister Mary Dorothy received the Reading Hall of Fame Award from the Ohio State Board of Education for her work implementing a reading incentive program at Hartley which resulted in higher achievement levels and increased use of reading skills by her students. While at Hartley she also volunteered for nine years teaching C.C.D. at St. Mary’s in Groveport. She continued tutoring students the rest of her time in active ministry.
In community Sister Mary Dorothy helped with cooking, housekeeping and sacristy work. She enjoyed spending time with sisters who were sick or in need of a little extra help. She loved organizing socials and gladly volunteered for the recreation committee in larger houses. She found reading, listening to good music and delving into history relaxing and energizing. Her Sisters experienced her as “always pleasant”, “very humble”, “gracious and welcoming”, “a good listener”, “very caring”, and “fun in community.” She had a way of putting others at their ease; she was a good listener and took a genuine interest in each person she met. She deeply loved her sisters, students, co-workers and family members. In spite of great physical suffering during her last years Sister Mary Dorothy kept her cheerfulness, her appreciation for those around her and her “attitude of gratitude” towards life.
Sister Mary Dorothy named autumn as her favorite season because that is when “the Master Painter of our Earth” surrounds us with so many glorious colors. It is fitting that it was a beautiful autumn day when she answered God’s call to step from this life into the next. We rejoice and give thanks with Sister Mary Dorothy as she is filled with all the fullness of our good God.
Born August 20, 1916 in Hoople, North Dakota
Parents: John LeDiard (born at Abbeville, France) and Florina Brusseau (born in North Dakota)
Siblings: Joseph LeDiard, Joseph Oscar LeDiard (died at six weeks), Mary Lorraine Hough, Donald LeDiard (died at age eight)
Baptized August 25, 1916 at St. Thomas Church, St. Thomas, North Dakota
Confirmed May 26, 1927 at St. Francis Church, Columbus Ohio
Entered February 1, 1942 at Mount Notre Dame
First Profession: August 13, 1944
Final Profession: August 13, 1949
Bachelor of Science in Education, from the University of Dayton, 1967
1944-1948: St. Victor School, Calumet City, Illinois
1948-1949: St. Peter Canisius School, Chicago, Illinois
1949-1959 St. Robert Bellarmine School, Chicago, Illinois
1959-1964 St. John School, Logan, Ohio
1964-1967 St. Alexander School, Villa Park, Illinois
1967 University of Dayton – Student
1967-1968 St. Alexander School, Villa Park, Illinois
1968-1969 St. Peter School, South Beloit, Illinois
1969-1973 St. Susanna School, Mason, Ohio
1973-1984 Hartley High School, Columbus, Ohio
1984-1997 Mount Notre Dame Reading Center, Reading, Ohio
1997-2006 Mount Notre Dame, Reading, Ohio – community service
2006-2014 Mount Notre Dame Health Center, Reading, Ohio – ministry of prayer
Sr. Kim Dalgarn SNDdeN
November 9, 2014