Dominican Sister Juliana Savoy’s earthly life ended January 22, 2015, at the age of 88. The Motherhouse at St. Catharine, KY, became her home when Hurricane Katrina forced her relocation; she died after several years in Sansbury Care Center at the end of an itinerant life.
Sr. Juliana (Margaret Mary), a native of Lafayette, LA, pronounced her vows in New Orleans as a Eucharistic Missionary of St. Dominic in 1948. First missioned to Tucson, AZ, she directed kindergarten and catechetical classes at Pio Decimo Neighborhood Center. Back in Louisiana, she was Director of Religious Education in Jennings, Scott, and on Bayou Grand Caillou. After 12 years of census ministry throughout the US, Sr. Juliana returned to Lafayette to care for her frail parents, Albert and Laura, until their deaths. During that time she published the Council on Aging’s regional newspaper. The bishop of Lafayette appointed her as the administrator of Holy Trinity Parish in Washington, LA. Her ministerial and personal skills flourished within that African-American community. Her passion for social justice extended beyond Louisiana to collaboration in the Dominican Alliance with the Africa Connection and the Eco-Justice committees.
Sr. Juliana carved out time along the way to earn a bachelor’s degree in applied arts from the University of Southwest Louisiana, and a certificate from the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University. Her participation in summer programs in urban ministry at the University of Notre Dame led to a lasting friendship with its director, Fr. Jack Egan.
A frequent traveler at home and abroad, Sr. Juliana brought her mother in a wheelchair to Lourdes; she pushed the wheelchair of the EMD’s co-founder, Mother Margaret Grouchy, around Disney World. Sr. Juliana loved her Acadian heritage; that led to a few trips to Nova Scotia and her skill in preparing Cajun cuisine. A lifelong learner, she was avid about current events, theology, history, literature, and family genealogy. Although she lost one eye due to glaucoma as a young child, she drove great distances on vacations; made clothes for others and herself; painted with water colors; sewed items for the motherhouse gift shop to benefit charities; enjoyed photography and gardening. No wonder Sr. Juliana loved the annual gatherings of the Dominican Institute for the Arts.
Sr. Juliana always remained close to her parents, and her two older sisters, Priscilla Barrett and especially Mount Carmel Sister Baptist Savoy. Long before and even after Hurricane Katrina, the bonds of affection remained tight between her and her niece, nephews, and their children.
The Mass of Christian Burial followed by interment in St. Catharine cemetery was held on January 28 at 10:30. The Savoy family and friends will gather for a Memorial Mass in her home parish of St. Genevieve on February 21 at 11:00. A Memorial Mass in New Orleans will soon be scheduled.
Memorial gifts in Sr. Juliana’s memory may be submitted securely online or sent to Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr, Columbus, OH 43219-2098.