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‘From Roots to Wings’

Sr Marie Thérèse presents a copy to HNC Acting Principal Frances Lacaille-Perkins. Photos: Gerard-Paul Wanliss

A new book by Sr Marie Thérèse Rétout OP

“She is a woman before and beyond her times.” This is how Sr Renée Hall OP described Sr Marie Thérèse Rétout OP at the launch of Sr Marie Thérèse’s latest book From Roots to Wings which takes a look at milestones in the history of Holy Name Convent (HNC).

Ninety-five-year-old Sr Marie Thérèse has spent the last 65 years of her life in Trinidad, serving in a number of different roles including archivist for the Dominican Sisters, working at the Apostolic Nunciature and the Catholic News. Sr Renée, History and Religion teacher at HNC for the last 14 years and Dean of Form Six, described the author’s splendid ability to research, guide others in research and document her findings, stating that she “has been gifted with a sharp mind”.

Born in France in 1922, Sr Marie Thérèse came to Trinidad and Tobago 30 years later, and from then has witnessed much in the development of the legacy of the Convent.  She has marked several milestones in the book including the donation of statues, the days of using a horse-drawn buggy for transport, and others.

Some of her other publications include Called to Serve, 100 Years of The Catholic News, Parish Beat, The Land of My Dreams Just Next Door and A Light Rising in the West.

Over 80 persons gathered at the Convent’s Marian Hall on September 27; among them were Fatima College Principal and Provincial Superior of the Holy Ghost Fathers, Fr Gregory Augustine CSSp, members of the Dominican Order, and of the Holy Name Convent Past Pupils’ Association (HNCPPA).

Prioress General, Sr Therese Antoine OP in her remarks on behalf of the Congregation, thanked the Association for their contribution to the project by ensuring its completion. She thanked especially the Class of 1976, members of which were also in attendance at the launch, including Mistress of Ceremony Gayle Salloum.

Congratulations to Sr Marie Thérèse for her tremendous efforts also came from Priya Gomes-Mora, President of the HNCPPA and immediate past President Lisa Burkett, who said in lauding the book project, “What they were able to achieve must be recorded and archived for those who come after us.”

In her response, Sr Marie Thérèse described her feeling as “like an old soldier that is walking on the Champs Elysees in Paris”, and aptly so, as 31 years earlier in that same hall, she had launched Called to Serve.

She said she too was amazed by what she discovered about the history of Holy Name and thanked the Sisters who came to Trinidad to serve and those in Trinidad who still serve, including Sr Renée who checked her translations, all her friends, benefactors, members of the clergy and students.

Presentations were made both to Sr Marie Thérèse and by her. She presented a copy of the book to Sr Thérèse for the Congregation, and to Holy Name Convent’s Acting Principal and Custodian of the Books, Frances Lacaille-Perkins. – Emily Hunte

Sr Marie Thérèse presents a copy to HNC Acting Principal Frances Lacaille-Perkins. Photos: Gerard-Paul Wanliss
Mistress of Ceremony Gayle Salloum (right) speaks about the book. Listening are Sr Therese Antoine (left) and Sr Marie Thérèse.
The new book on display.
The small gathering at Marian Hall for the book launch.