The following is an edited version of the eulogy for Sr Dominic Savio Walrond SJC who died June 28. It was submitted by the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny.
Deanna Walrond was born on April 19, 1944, to Randolph and Floris Walrond. She was the fifth of nine children, five boys and four girls.
She grew up in a strong Anglican home. Her father was very involved in the Anglican Church and ensured that his children went to church every Sunday and attended Sunday School. Her primary school years were spent at an Anglican school in Couva where her father was headmaster.
When her parents moved to St Joseph, her father’s efforts to send her to a Presbyterian secondary school failed. Deanna was delighted about going to St Joseph’s Convent because she wanted “to meet the nuns and observe the type of life that they lived.”
From an early age, Deanna had a keen interest in God and in Heaven. When she saw two nuns for the first time in her life and her mother told her, “They fell from the sky”, her interest peaked as she associated them with Heaven. She then expressed her desire to become a nun. “No such thing!” her mother exclaimed with horror. “You better get that idea out of your head.”
After completing her secondary education, Deanna worked as a Grade II Clerical Officer in the Inland Revenue Department. During that time, she approached her father about wanting to become Catholic, but her requests fell on deaf ears.
After many years of waiting and praying, her father granted her request to become a Catholic and to enter religious life.
On Thursday, April 24, 1964, at the age of 20, on the Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Deanna was received into the Catholic Church. On February 2, 1966, Deanna entered the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny and at the novitiate received the name of Sister Dominic Savio of Our Lord.
After professing her first vows in 1968, Sr Dominic began her training to be a teacher at the Catholic Women’s Training College where she discovered her gift for Art & Craft and needlework.
Culinary and candle-making skills
As a primary school teacher at Curepe RC and Arima Girls’ RC, Sr Dominic was also responsible for managing the school’s cafeteria. From this experience, she discovered her natural ability for business which she believed she inherited from her grandfather who owned “a small dry goods shop”.
In 1977, Sr Dominic was sent to pursue studies at the John Donaldson Technical Institute of Higher Education where she graduated with a National Diploma in Home Economics, Nutrition, Biology, and Institutional Management.
She taught at Belmont Junior Secondary for a short period of time. Thereafter, she was assigned to Providence Girls’ Catholic School and later to her alma mater, St Joseph’s Convent, St Joseph.
After her retirement from teaching in Trinidad, Sr Dominic was assigned to St Vincent where she worked for five years at St Joseph’s Convent, Mesopotamia and five years at St Joseph’s Convent, Kingstown.
Wherever Sr Dominic went on mission, she was most known for her culinary skills. On hearing of her passing, one of her past pupils wrote: “Generations of Convent girls will have fond memories of Sister Dominic, of fudge, tamarind balls, pancakes, paratha, and many more culinary delights, of embroidery and straight stitching and other Home Economics secrets. There will be laughter and gratitude for lessons learned that are still relevant today.”
One of the activities she enjoyed was candle-making. For her, nothing was to be wasted. She collected discarded candle remains from which came new life. This process, she compared with the on-going life of a Christian, let alone a religious.
Sr Dominic had another love and that was her great devotion to Our Lady. She recalled in her teenaged years praying many rosaries to Our Lady to become Catholic.
She followed the apparitions of Our Lady with intense fervour and when possible, made many a pilgrimage. She was a member of the Centre for Peace and encouraged others to pray the rosary.
Sr Dominic also had a special love for the poor. She would often use her expertise to find ways and means to raise money to help them. The poor who came to her door at Providence were always well-received and none went away empty-handed.
To try to encapsulate Sr Dominic’s life in a few words is a difficult task. In her autobiography, God’s Story of One of His Creatures published a few years ago, Sr Dominic writes, “To God be the Glory for the great things He has done.”
We thank God for the life of Sr Dominic and all the ways she strove to use her gifts for the honour and glory of God.