We have been stunned and saddened by the death early on 28th August of our beloved Fr. Maurice Rouleau. He had been ill for less than three weeks, and following hospital admission, he eventually succumbed to massive infection, secondary to abdominal Lymphoma. His death was peaceful and prayerful. His life is changed, not ended.
Born in Gardner City, Massachusetts in 1929, he joined our Minor Seminary at Suffern, New York in 1943 and our Novitiate in Barre, Mass. in 1949 making his First Profession of Vows on 8 September 1951. Following completion of his studies, he was ordained on 22 September 1956 at our New York church of St. Jean Baptiste.
We fondly remember the celebration of his Golden Jubilee in 2006. In the intervening years he had served in our houses in Cleveland (Ohio), and Hyde Park (New York) before his assignment to Leicester (England) in 1968. He alternated between Leicester and Dublin until 1988, when he returned to Dublin, and happily for us, has remained here ever since. He has served our Congregation as Director of Novices, as Librarian (held a Master’s degree in Library Science), Provincial Treasurer, Vocations Director, and Local Superior. To all of these tasks he brought not only his exceptional and wide-ranging ability, but a cheerful willingness and attitude of caring that truly reflected the Eucharistic Lord he strove to emulate.
His work in spreading the Eucharistic message of St. Peter Julian Eymard was not limited to his specific duties in our Communities or our Shrines. His extraordinary level of compassion kept him constantly on the trail of those who were sick at home, or those confined to Hospital or Nursing Home care. If there was need or hardship that he could alleviate, he always made himself available in total selflessness. In recent months, he was Chaplain to a nursing home for elderly religious.
Having for several years served as Spiritual Director to a Member of our Secular Institute Servitium Christi, he undertook in the late 1980s to foster further vocations to this way of life, and it is thanks to his efforts in fostering and sustaining these vocations that the Institute has grown in this area. We know that he is very dear to all the Servitium Christi Members, and that they feel his loss very deeply indeed.
In the short time since his final illness and hospitalisation, as we prayed for his recovery, and struggled to face the reality of his situation, the impression of him most frequently articulated was that he brought comfort wherever he went. It was not just his total reliability, and constant availability, but also his cheerful disposition which clearly conveyed his loving, caring nature, generously laced with wit and mischievousness. We are indebted to the Mater Hospital staff (especially in the Intensive Care Unit) who brought him comfort in his final days.
Fr. Maurice’s passing has left an aching void in our Community, as he was a father-figure to us all, having, in many cases, been the Director of novices who steered us through our early years of formation in St. Peter Julian’s Eucharistic family. He has been an example and an inspiration to us all, and we will miss him terribly.
We extend our heartfelt sympathy to his brother Marcel and his sisters Rita and Jeanne whose loss in unspeakable. It has been a great comfort to us to have Marcel and Rita here with us through the final days of Fr. Maurice’s illness, and since his death. We hope that they in turn are comforted by the knowledge that Fr. Maurice was so deeply loved here in Dublin both by his Community and by the people he served, (and indeed in Leicester also where he is still fondly remembered) and that they can convey this to Jeanne who was unable to travel, so that she too can be comforted by this reassurance.
Towards the end of his own life, St. Peter Julian said that “Death is the lifting of the veil that allows Jesus to appear to the soul in all His tenderness”. The veil has now been lifted for Fr. Maurice and he enjoys this vision of His Eucharistic Lord who served so faithfully. May he have the eternal comfort he so richly deserves, and may we who mourn him comforted by our constant union with him in Christ’s Mystical body.