Sr Rose de Notre Dame OP died July 17, 2019 at the Convent in Guadeloupe. She was interred in the vault of the Dominican Sisters, Abymes, Guadeloupe after a joyful celebration in the packed parish church. She was in the 93rd year of her life and the 71st year of her profession. The local Dominican Sisters community remembers Sr Rose on the anniversary of her death.
Sr Rose de Notre Dame OP (Yvonne de Verteuil) was born on September 19, 1925 in Port of Spain to Jacques and Suzanne de Verteuil. They were a religious Catholic family of eight children. Three of them became religious (two Sisters and one priest who later left).
She entered the Dominican Congregation May 16, 1946 at Holy Name Convent along with Sr Bernadette De La Bastide OP. These two were the first local vocations in Trinidad. Sr Rose made First Profession February 28, 1948. She studied at Cambridge University, obtained her first degree, and returned to Trinidad.
Most of her religious life was mainly in the field of education. She was a gifted teacher and a humble leader in her role as administrator. Her various mandates included Chacachacare, Holy Name Convent (teacher), Principal at St Dominic’s Convent School, Holy Name Preparatory School, and after leaving Trinidad she assisted at Notre Dame Preparatory in Guadeloupe.
Many of her former students, teachers and parents valued her for her humility, wisdom, counsel, and a wonderful sense of humour. She was fluent in French and mastered the art of simultaneous translations during many of our Chapters.
Sr Rose served at various levels in the Regional and General Councils of the Congregation and was the Regional Prioress for Trinidad 1972 to 1977. She was also responsible for the building of the Dominican Sisters Convent at Arima.
She balanced her academic life with baking and taught herself to make tasty breads (like onion and garlic) and other meals.
Embodied Dominican life
Her years at the UWI Catholic Chaplaincy were fuelled with long enthusiastic conversations with then chaplain Fr Clyde Harvey, students, Sr Monique OP and other Sisters at the dinner table after Sunday evening Mass.
She formed a group for young persons who wished to nurture their faith. A few of these young women eventually joined the Dominican Order. Her thirst for knowledge was sustained as she was an avid reader and her most cherished author was Rabindranath Tagore.
Two of her favourite quotes were: ”The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence”, and “I slept and dreamt that life was joy, I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold service was joy.”
After retiring in 1982 from the Holy Name Preparatory School, Sr Rose took a sabbatical and obtained a second degree in Theology in Toronto. She had a new burst of energy and purpose.
She channelled her passion into sharing and imparting her knowledge in Guadeloupe. She got involved with the local radio programmes in Evangelisation and was deeply appreciated.
The Dominican laity was another group to which Sr Rose became committed. Once there was a need to share God’s Word, Sr Rose was fired and willing to participate as a true Dominican who embodied the essence of Dominican life and by extension the mission of the Church.
St Thomas Aquinas said that the work of the Dominican Order was “to contemplate and to give to others the fruits of contemplation”. Sr Rose fulfilled this mandate to the fullest!
Sr Rose, we thank you for your fidelity to your Dominican life. You enfleshed the call to serve Wherever, Whenever and Whatever the demands. You said numerous times that you signed a blank cheque to God without conditions when you entered the Convent. Rest in eternal peace, dear Sister.