BY BROOKSI HUDSON
SUMMERVILLE — Parishioners at St. Theresa, the Little Flower Church honored Dominican Sister Mary Lequier for 50 years of faithful service May 22.
Sister Lequier came to the Summerville area in 1977 to minister to the elderly community and has served faithfully ever since. Grateful parishioners presented Sister Lequier with a laptop computer and a doll wearing the habit that Dominican sisters wore 50 years ago.
Sister Lequier told The Miscellany that she first knew she wanted to be a nun as a small child. At two years old she told her mother, “I’m going to be one of those,” referring to the sisters serving in her home parish in Royal Oak, Mich.
“Little did I know that God would actually give me the grace to carry out his work,” she said.
In her 28 years in South Carolina, Sister Lequier has had an impact on the lives of those around her. Although her primary ministry is to the elderly through the St. Vincent de Paul Society, she has been instrumental in assisting the Edisto Indians residing in nearby Ridgeville.
“Years ago I spoke with the Edisto Indian chief and he told me that if someone would just teach his people to read they would be able to accomplish anything in life,” she said. “So they set us up with a classroom, and through education the tribe has come so far.”
Roy Muckelvaney, an Edisto Indian, said that Sister Lequier has influenced his life as well as the Native American community.
“I have known Sister Mary for 15 or 20 years and she has always been there for me and my family when we needed her,” Muckelvaney said. “She is an outstanding person and she will go out of her way for anyone she can. She has definitely brought us closer as a tribe.”
Sister Lequier’s colleague over the past 28 years, Sister Carol Dulka, said that she is amazed by her Dominican sister’s patience.
“To just live each day and see the wonder of the being, I know that I am truly blessed,” said Sister Dulka. “She is a truly good person.”
In her years as a nun, Sister Lequier said her defining moment came after Vatican II when sisters were permitted to choose their own area of service.
“Prior to Vatican II I had been in education, and although I loved the work and still work in education in a different form, I knew in my heart that I wanted to be a missionary sister,” she said. “The new decision gave me the chance to choose what I wanted to do and I just thought ‘Wow! This is it.’ ”
“Being able to choose makes a person so much more gung-ho in their service, and Vatican II gave us that chance,” she said.
As Sister Lequier celebrates her 68th birthday this year, she is still going strong.
“Every day, despite the aches and pains that come with old age, I am excited to get out and start my day because I can’t wait to see who God has for me to meet that day,” she said. “I think life is a jigsaw puzzle. God gives you pieces of himself in the people you meet, and at the end of my journey I hope that I can step back and see that my puzzle looks like God.”
Msgr. Edward Lofton, pastor at St. Theresa, said that he can’t imagine life without Sister Lequier.
“Sister Mary is such a big asset to the ministry here,” he said. “I am amazed that she can do everything that she does. She has such a dynamo personality.”