Sister Lauretta Thompson, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur for 79 years, died peacefully in Oakland on March 1, one month after celebrating her 100th birthday.
After 44 years as a Coesfeld Sister of Notre Dame, Sister Lauretta joined the Notre Dame de Namur community for the next 35 years. Both communities honor St. Julie Billiart as their foundress.
Alice Thompson, one of 17 children in a Methodist family in the south, moved to Cleveland, Ohio during the Great Depression. Because she was unhappy in the public school there, her sister suggested that she go to Notre Dame Academy, where she immediately felt at home with the Coesfeld Sisters who taught there. She became a Catholic and, after graduating and working for two years, entered the Coesfeld community on her 21st birthday. Sr. Lauretta taught elementary and high school for many years, then volunteered in 1949 to be one of the founding members of a mission to India.
After ten years of service in India, she returned to the U.S., and was sent to California. While studying at San Jose State University, Sister came to know the Namur community in San Jose, and admired the way they were responding to Vatican II calls to become more engaged in the needs of the world. With support from both communities, she transferred to Notre Dame de Namur. Sr. Lauretta served in the Sisters’ schools in San Jose, Honolulu, Alameda and Saratoga, then volunteered for 15 years at O’Connor Hospital in San Jose. Sister Lauretta appreciated the friends she met and the care she received at Holy Names Convent in Los Gatos, at the Notre Dame Province Center in Belmont, and at Mercy Retirement and Care Center, in Oakland. One of her great joys was to return to India in 1999 for a 50th anniversary celebration and to reunite with people she had known and loved there.
Predeceased by her parents, Samuel and Florence Thompson, Sr. Lauretta will be lovingly remembered by many nephews and nieces, friends in the U.S. and India, and Sisters of both Notre Dame communities.