Sister Mary Rita Lavigne: Aug. 2, 1922-Sept. 17, 2015

Sister Mary Rita Lavigne, 93, an Ursuline Sister of Mount Saint Joseph (Ky.) died Sept. 17, 2015, in Owensboro, in her 62nd year of religious life. A native of Topeka, Kan., she enjoyed playing the piano by ear.

Sister Mary Rita Lavigne

Sister Rita was an Ursuline Sister of Paola, Kan., prior to the merger of that community with the Ursulines of Mount Saint Joseph in 2008. She was the daughter of the late Harry S. and Elizabeth (Bestgen) Lavigne. She graduated from Hayden High School, Topeka.

She attended Ursuline Junior College, Paola; Creighton University, Omaha, Neb.; and received a master’s in business administration from the University of Notre Dame. During her years of service in the Church, Sister Rita taught at the Ursuline Academy, Paola (1956-58), Holy Name School, Kansas City, Kan., (1958-62) and served as its secretary and bookkeeper from 1987-92. She taught at Bishop Miege High School, Shawnee Mission, Kan., (1962-69). Sister Rita was business administrator for the Lakemary Center in Paola, which serves adults and children with developmental disabilities, from 1969-87.

From 1992 until the merger in 2009, she returned to the Paola Motherhouse to minister as an organist, coordinator of outside retreats and at the Paola Association for Church Action Food Pantry. Sister Rita moved to Maple Mount on June 1, 2009, and served in the community archives until her death. She is responsible for completing two necrology books that have a one-page biography and a photo of all 91 sisters buried in the Paola cemetery.

Survivors include a brother, Harry Lavigne of Des Moines, Iowa, nieces and nephews, and the members of her religious community.

The funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 21 at Mount Saint Joseph, where visitation will begin Sunday at 4 p.m., with a wake service following at 6:30 p.m. Burial will be in the convent cemetery.

Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory, Owensboro, is in charge of arrangements.

Gifts in memory of Sister Rita may take the form of donations to the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph, 8001 Cummings Road, Maple Mount, KY 42356.


  1. Patty Baldwin

    I dearly loved Sr. Rita Lavigne and have many memories of her.
    Thank you, Kathy, for your beautiful reflection of Rita! She touched so many lives. I was blessed to be one of them.

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