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St. Anne's School remembers Sister Germain

The sign St. Anne's School paid tribute to Sister Ella Marie, who taught French in the school for three years.

The sign outside St. Anne's School in Somerset honored one of its own.

"Repos dans la paix de Dieu Sister Ella Marie." Which means, "Rest in the peace of God Sister Ella Marie Germain."

Sister Ella Marie Germain had voluntarily taught French to the first- through fifth-graders of St. Anne's School for three years. Although her ill health prevented her from continuing, the staff and students recalled fond memories of her after her death at age 96 on Oct. 29.

Donna Foley, fourth grade teacher, said that Sister Ella Marie's visits were greatly anticipated by her students.

"She was very patient and enjoyed the students as much as they enjoyed her," Foley said. "The students kept asking for a long time if she would come back and teach some more. They were also very excited when they'd see her at our Masses. She is greatly missed by all of us."

Sister Ella Marie was born on March 12, 1913. After graduating from New Richmond High School in 1932, she entered the convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Cookston, Minn. From there, she went to the Motherhouse in Bourg, France before beginning her 72-year teaching career.

After retiring in Somerset, she would visit St. Anne's School every Friday, bringing with her homemade picture cards. She taught them French prayers, phrases, greetings and even songs with movements.

"She would come in and say hello in French, and we would reply," Ali Paradies and Megan Erlitz, fourth-graders, recalled. "She'd ask us about the weather, and we would reply in French. She was nice; we liked the color cards and the songs we'd sing."

"It was good for her to come and volunteer, and she told good stories," said Luke Plourde, fifth-grader.

"I really liked how she put her life to teaching children and gave her life to God," Lauren Milbrandt, fifth-grader, concluded.