Sisters of Saint Joseph of Annecy

Sr. Marie Xaverine – Irene Perret

of Chilly, Haute Savoie

who died at Grand Chêne, Vieugy

on 15th November 2021

aged 97 years, 78 of Religious Profession.


Sister M Xaverine, Irene, was born on 30 August 1924 in Chilly. She was the eldest of 10 children: 6 boys and 4 girls. Her mother entrusted her very early with the responsibilities she could carry: watching over the little brothers and sisters while the parents worked in the fields, keeping the fire burning, heating the meal already prepared. Irene does this work with care and love for the children.

One day her mother said to her: "I wish you were a nun". But for Irene, this was out of the question! During a mission, as used to be common in the countryside, a novena was organised for the beatification of a certain Piétratoni nun. Irene conscientiously did this novena so that she would never be a nun! However, she entered the juniorate with the firm intention of not being a nun. A year passed and one day she said to her mother: "Mother, I think I want to become a nun". She passed the BE in July 1941 and entered the novitiate on 21 November of the same year. She was 17 years old. The period of formation was difficult for her.

She was sent to St Jeoire for a month as a replacement. This was her baptism into teaching, which she loved from the start. So, what joy after her first vows in 1943 she found her pupils in St Jeoire! She remained there for 12 years, appreciated by the children and their parents. She worked closely with the teachers at the boys' school. At that time, boys and girls were separated in their respective schools but worked together actively at Christmas and at the end of the school year. She continued her apostolate with the children at St Joseph's day school, Les Tilleuls, Les Fins, and again at Les Tilleuls until 1980.

In 1980, there was a change of direction. She received the heavy responsibility of Provincial Superior, which she assumed for 12 years. One of her counsellors gave her this beautiful testimony: "Sr M Xaverine did not do anything extraordinary. She did not leave any writings behind. But she gave herself completely to her task. She worked hard to promote peace and good understanding between the sisters in the different communities. She travelled around, visiting the sisters she met less often, those who had difficulties. She did not judge or condemn. During the 12 years of her office, she had to change residence 3 or 4 times, going from the convent to Les Molasses, from Les Molasses to Bethany. She listened a lot and weighed up the different points of view before acting or taking decisions. The same councillor continues: "It was far from easy. Sister M Xaverine was at the origin of the establishment of the Grand Chêne in Vieugy. So many steps! How many projects were drawn up and refused and had to be taken up again! So many comments! So many criticisms! But also precious support, in particular that of Madam Camuseau, mayor of Seynod, for the acquisition of the land.

After her mandate as Provincial, Sr M Xavérine spent two years in St Martin before taking on a new responsibility: superior of the newly born community of Grand Chêne. There, as everywhere else, she was appreciated because she was welcoming, affable and always in an even mood. In everything, she had the desire to see the positive side. She provided this service for 6 years, then 7 years in Thônes community.

In 2007, the time came for a well-deserved rest at the Mother House. She was always the same- fundamentally good and determined to see everything with a positive outlook. She radiated peace and passed it on to those around her. She received this peace, she said, in prayer centred on our charism: welcoming and loving the created and uncreated Trinity, as expressed in our first constitutions. She loved to contemplate the face of Christ crucified. In 2010, she was welcomed to the Grand Chêne community. For 11 years, she deepened her prayer, radiating goodness and peace, and preparing herself to enter into the intimacy of God, the Trinity of Love.

Marie Xavérine, watch over our Congregation, flourishing in some parts of the world, aging in the Province of France, which you led with courage. Watch also over your numerous family members: nephews, nieces; great nephews, nieces; great great nephews, nieces whom you have loved and who love you.