Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sister Rebecca Albert (1908-1996)

Pepere’s younger sister was a devout, educated and artistic person. In 1930, she was living with Pepere on Bridge Street in Westbrook as shown on the 1930 US Census. That same year in September, an article appeared in a local paper announcing she was to enter the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary in St. Hyacinthe, Canada to continue her studies to become a nun.  She was 22 at the time. Before living with Pepere, she lived with his sister, Mrs. Emmanuel Gallant (Antoinette Albert) on King Street in Westbrook.
Did you know there was a town in Quebec called St. Hyacinthe? It is located due northwest of Montreal. Below is an image of the town and its park taken from Wikipedia.
Sister Rebecca would later be transferred to Manchester, NH to continue her vows, teach and practice her art. She painted many pictures including a few images hanging over the piano at the home of Roland and Janet Albert in Westbrook. One of these paintings is shown in the Family Treasures post on this blog. The newspaper article goes on to say that she was trained in art at Coaticook High School in Canada where she graduated in 1929 as valedictorian. Later she attended the University of New Hampshire which was a real accomplishment considering that it was uncommon at that time for women to work on advanced degrees.

If you are an older Albert, what do you remember about Sister Rebecca? I remember visiting her with my family on regular visits to New Hampshire. For an older, seemingly sedentary person, she also had an animated quality about her.  She was always asking me questions about my lessons and somehow she knew I’d become a teacher. Sometime around the age of ten, she gave me a book on Longfellow poems as a birthday present. 
Note regarding source of the newspaper article: 
The article was clipped and attached to a handwritten letter but did not include the date or the name of the paper. Since she was living in Westbrook at the time, I assumed it was a local paper - either the Westbrook American or the Portland Press Herald.

3 comments:

  1. Pauline (Albert) SiulinskiAugust 1, 2010 at 1:09 PM

    Aunt Rebecca used to teach school in Manchester and I remember her telling me what she would say to students in class who were not paying attention: "Go sit on the other side of the room and catch flies~!"
    I also remember her nudging me to consider being a nun. She'd ask me if I had heard the calling yet.

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  2. I remember her most while visiting her at Memere & Pepere's at the beach. She was there visiting them. I remember being kind of in awe of her because of her always wearing her "habit". But, I also remember a time when she was NOT wearing it and was in regular clothes without anything on her head etc...she had very thin, strait, gray hair....I do remember her talent as an artist and have a few paintings that she helped my mother do, who also had a talent for oil painting. Aunt Rebecca also put together a big collage type picture of my mother, multiple different pictures through Lorraine's childhood etc. She made this for Memere & Pepere after my mother died in 1970. Maybe I can take a picture of the picture and attach it to this post somehow? I'll have to work on that at some point. Thanks Craig for posting the awesome picture of her! Diane

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  3. I only have vague memories of Aunt Rebecca, but I remember as a very young child having to show respect to her because she was a devout nun. My mother and I visited her when she lived on Brown Street in Westbrook and I remember wondering how a nun could live on her own in a house and not in a convent...Although I can't recall any conversation we had, I do remember feeling that she was very kind and also quick witted for an 'old lady'. Thanks for sharing Craig! ~ Jill

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