Arlene Laverdiere

Feb. 11, 1916 - March 20, 2010

Sister Arlene Laverdiere, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, 94, died on Saturday, March 20, 2010, at Villa St. Joseph, La Crosse.

Sister Arlene was born to Joseph and Flora (DeSautels) Laverdiere on Feb. 11, 1916, in White Bear, Minn. She entered St. Rose Convent in 1931 and made profession of vows in 1935. Sister Arlene taught primary grades for one year and music for four years in Iowa and Wisconsin before earning a bachelor degree in piano and organ and a master's degree in voice and choral. She taught music for 42 years on various levels in Montana, Washington and Wisconsin, including 34 years at Viterbo College. After her retirement from the classroom, Sister Arlene continued to give private music and voice lessons until she moved to St. Rose Convent in 1995. In 2000, she made her home at Villa St. Joseph.

Sister Arlene is survived by her Franciscan community; two sisters, Rose Colpaert and Rita (Louis) Marshall, all of Duluth, Minn.; one brother, Wilfred Laverdiere of Mesa, Ariz.; and nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; three brothers, Joseph, Alfred and Arthur; and three sisters, Eva, Merilda and Sister Eva Jean Laverdiere, FSPA .

Friends may call after 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, March 25 at St. Rose Convent. A prayer service will be held at 6:30 p.m. in Mary of the Angels Chapel. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in the chapel at 10 a.m., Friday, March 26. Burial will be in Gate of Heaven Catholic Cemetery, La Crosse.

Memorials may be sent to Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration,

912 Market St., La Crosse, WI 54601-4782.

Dickinson Family Funeral Homes is assisting with arrangements.

From the Viterbo Music Department:

Sr. Arlene Laverdiere accepted an appointment to teach at Viterbo College in 1956 and taught at Viterbo for thirty four years.  Sr. Arlene was the first full-time voice teacher at Viterbo.  During her tenure at Viterbo, the major in vocal performance was established.  She founded the Marionettes and directed the Chorale for many years.  The Chorale is the predecessor of the Concert Choir and the Marionettes the predecessor of the 9th St. Singers.  Although she never gave herself the title, by virtue of laying the groundwork for the degree in vocal performance and by her excellent work in the vocal area, she is the founder of the vocal program.

Sister Arlene taught choral groups, opera, Secondary Music Methods, Vocal Technic Class, Liturgical Music, Vocal Methods, and supervised student teachers.  She was also the director of the Convent Schola. 

Sister Arlene taught the first male voice students when Viterbo became co-ed in 1970. Sister Arlene barely 5 ft. tall was a significant presence in the Viterbo Music Department and had a big heart.   Her studio recliner chair was always available for a student who was too stressed to sing that day.  Sr. Arlene was an excellent pianist as well as voice teacher and accompanied her own students and other faculty in the department.  Sr. Arlene practiced yoga and felt that yoga was a natural extension of the singer's breath.

After her retirement, Sister Arlene was awarded Professor Emerita of Music.  Sister Arlene was a kind, generous, warm-hearted person who rarely found fault with anyone or anything.  She remained an optimistic person for her entire life.