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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Memorial Mass scheduled for Mary Burns, Sacred Heart alumna, former RSCJ and Headmistress of Grand Coteau

Mary T. Burns
Headmistress of the Sacred Heart School of Montreal

Mary Theodosia Burns, suffered death on December 14th, 2011 in Gainesville, Florida. She was born January 17th, 1942, in New Orleans, Louisiana, the daughter of Mary Theodosia Weber and James Patout Burns, both of whom preceded her in death. 

Mary will be missed by her husband of more than twenty years, Sean McEvenue and by his children, whom they shared: Patrick, Kate, and Timothy McEvenue, by their spouses Joëlle Rudick, Jesse Bazzul, and Shannon Lu, as well as by grandchildren, Benjamin, Nathan, Luca, Joseph, and Ellie. She is also survived by her brothers James Patout Burns, Jr. and his spouse, Robin Jensen, and by Theodore Weber Burns and his partner-in-life Maura McDonnell, and his children Theodore, Jr. (Brad), David, Jeffrey, Jennifer, and their spouses and partners-in-life Krystal, Jamey, Beth, and James, as well as his grandchildren, Spencer, Dawson, Brayden, Linda (Elle) and Marley. 

Mary received her primary education at Mount Carmel Academy in New Iberia, LA, and her secondary education at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau, LA. She received degrees from Maryville College, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and Tulane University. 

During more than twenty-five years as a Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, she worked as a teacher and administrator in primary and secondary education. She taught in Sacred Heart schools in St. Charles, MO and Grand Coteau, LA, before being appointed Director of Students and then of Studies at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans. She served as Headmistress of Duchesne Academy in Houston and as Director of the Sacred Heart Schools in Chicago. After her marriage to Sean McEvenue, she was Headmistress of The Sacred Heart School of Montreal and finally of the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau, where she led the effort to establish Berchmans Academy for boys. That dedication commemorated the miracle of St. John Berchmans at Grand Coteau. Mary's death fell on the anniversary of that miracle. 

Mary served on the governing boards of Sacred Heart schools and colleges in Grand Coteau, New York City, St. Louis, Houston, and Montreal. She was also a director of M.A. Patout & Son, Ltd. in Patoutville, LA, a sugar producer established by her great-grandmother and presided over by her grandmother and father. She retired to Gainesville, Florida in 2009 where she served as a Eucharistic Minister at Holy Faith Catholic Church. 

And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior." (Luke 1.46-47)

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, December 17, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. at Holy Faith Catholic Church, 747 NW 43rd Street, with Fr. John Phillips as celebrant. Interment will follow at Memorial Park Central. The family will receive friends at the church, Friday, December 16, 2011, 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., with the Rosary being recited at 8:00 p.m.

Arrangements are under the care of WILLIAMS-THOMAS FUNERAL HOME DOWNTOWN, 404 North Main Street. Memorial gifts may be made to Institutional Advancement, Schools of the Sacred Heart, 1821 Academy Road, P.O. Box 310, Grand Coteau, LA 70541 and to Haven Hospice, 4200 NW 90th Blvd., Gainesville, FL 32606.
Published in Houston Chronicle on December 16, 2011

I first met Mary Burns in the Fall of 2004 when I attended the AASH Southern Regional Conference hosted in Grand Coteau, LA.  At that time Mary was headmistress of the school.  She shared her dream of soon opening up a school for boys - Berchmans Academy. The above photo was taken by me this past October (CASHA conference) when I saw her portrait hanging in the parlor of our Sacred Heart School in Montreal and it was shortly afterward I learned that Mary was ill.

On behalf of the Associated Alumnae and Alumni of the Sacred Heart, I send heartfelt condolences to Mary's husband Sean; her family; friends, and the many students whose lives she touched.

May she rest in peace.

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