Longtime Catholic school teacher passes away after contracting COVID-19

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ACUSHNET, Mass. (WPRI) — The Southeastern Massachusetts Catholic community is mourning the loss of longtime teacher Sister Louise Place.

Sister Louise, 90, died last Thursday after testing positive for COVID-19.

Remembered for her sense of humor and deep faith, The Very Reverend Thomas Washburn, rector of St. Mary’s Cathedral, said Sister Louise was a pillar of the Southeastern Massachusetts Catholic community.

“I’m a graduate of Saint Francis Xavier School in Acushnet and Sister Louise taught there for more than 40 years,” Washburn said. “I had Sister Louise as a teacher almost every year I was at Saint Francis.”

Sister Louise taught at several schools in Acushnet and Fall River. She created the Mission Club, aimed at giving back to the less fortunate, and also started the school’s first walk-a-thon fundraiser in 1973.

“The last couple years she was struck with a number of different illnesses, which is typical as someone gets older,” Washburn added. “She was already in a weakened state and she just didn’t have the strength to fight it.”

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Washburn said Sister Louise was a big part of why he took the cloth after she told him he would “make a wonderful priest” back when he was just 9 years old.

“Sister Louise was an incredibly kind, generous, holy and joyful woman,” he recalled. “As I think of Sister Louise, what floods into my ears and my mind — I can hear it now — is her laughter. She had a constant laughter, an infectious laughter.”

Sister Louise’s services will be held at a later date due to pandemic restrictions.

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