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Claude Demoustier, RSCJ of Villa Duchesne Dies at Age 72

Director of students at Villa Duchesne Oak Hill from 1977-91.

Religious of the Sacred Heart Marie-Thérèse Claude Demoustier died Sunday, September 2, at Oakwood, the Society of the Sacred Heart’s elder care center in Atherton, California. She was 72.

Her life will be celebrated in a Mass of Resurrection Saturday, October 13 at 10:00 a.m. at Oakwood, 140 Valparaiso Avenue, Atherton, CA 94027. Burial will be in the Sacred Heart cemetery in Grand Coteau, Louisiana, where Sister Demoustier attended high school and later served as director of students as well as headmistress. It is also where she was introduced to the Society of the Sacred Heart.

Claude Demoustier was born July 31, 1940 in Pointe à Pierre, Trinidad, West Indies, the oldest of five daughters of Marc and Germaine de Verteuil Demoustier, both deceased. Her father worked for an oil company, so the family relocated many times and lived in France, Trinidad, Martinique, the United States, Venezuela and Switzerland. As a result, Sister Demoustier became proficient in several languages, which served her well in the international Society of the Sacred Heart.

She is survived by her sisters France (Mrs. Vincent) Balay, Christiane (Mrs. Guy) Delahaie, Nicole Demoustier and Geneviève (Mrs. Olivier) de Reynal, all of whom now reside in France. She entered the Society of the Sacred Heart October 20, 1963 at Kenwood in Albany. She professed first vows in April, 1966 and final vows in Joigny, France, September 10, 1972. She became an American citizen in July of 1983.

Since 2010, Sister Demoustier served the international Society of the Sacred Heart’s general council as secretary general in Rome, until illness prompted her to return to the United States this summer. She had earlier served in the motherhouse Secretariat, 2000-04.

Sister Demoustier’s earliest ministries were at Sacred Heart schools around the country where she taught French, Spanish, English and religion. Her first teaching position, in 1968, was at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles, the oldest school in the Network of Sacred Heart Schools, founded by St. Rose Philippine Duchesne.

The following year, she served as director of students and religion teacher at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, New Orleans, before returning to the Academy in St. Charles for two years. In 1971, she returned to her alma mater, the Academy of the Sacred Heart, Grand Coteau, Louisiana, where she stayed until 1977. She then served as director of students at Villa Duchesne Academy, St. Louis, Missouri, 1977-91.

In 1991, Sister Demoustier became headmistress at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest, Illinois, where she remained until she was called to serve the international Society in Rome in 2000. When she returned to the United States, she served as campus minister and teacher at Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart, Houston, 2004-07 and as headmistress of the Schools of the Sacred Heart, Grand Coteau.

Her friend and former colleague Debby Watson said, “I had the great privilege of teaching and working with Claude for many years. Her friendship was a great gift. Claude had a way of connecting with so many people. Her gift of relationships was like Madeleine Sophie’s and her gift of “simple duty daily done” was like Philippine Duchesne. I am honored to have called her friend. Her life’s work was the mission of the Society of the Sacred Heart – she lived it well and taught all of us along the way.”

Sister Demoustier earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Maryville University in St. Louis, also a school founded by the Society of the Sacred Heart. She later earned a master’s degree from St. Louis University.

Besides being credentialed to teach French, Spanish and English, Sister Demoustier had special skills in drawing, calligraphy, design and sewing.  She also loved reading and sports. She was a member of the Community Development Team in St. Louis from 1973-1976, the Network School Committee from 1983-1985, and the Board of Trustees at Duchesne in Omaha, Nebraska, from 1988 to 1991.

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