2015 Jubilarian, Celebrating 60 Years
The second of six children, Lorraine Landry was born on September 25, 1932 in Patterson, Louisiana. Alongside her three sisters and twin brothers, Sister Landry was raised in the country, as her father was a sugarcane farmer. She attended public schools until college, when she went to the College of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau, Louisiana. It was here that she became aware of her vocation.
Sister Landry was exceptionally shy growing up. In high school, though, she realized that shy was not a rewarding way to live, and made a concerted effort to overcome her reserved nature. This was the time she became a “go to” student teacher for her peers. She began running for any and every leadership position that was available, and landed a spot as the president of the “Future Homemakers of America” club in her high school.
She applied the same tenacity to her education as well. Already an apt sewer, she approached the principal of Patterson High school and appealed to him to allow her to take a woodworking class like the boys, in lieu of the home economics class being offered to the girls. He declined. So she did one better; by taking classes at night, she completed seven and a half semesters of cabinet making at Delgado Community College. Her commitment to her other courses earned her a spot as the valedictorian of her class, which consisted of ten other students.
She attributes part of her academic success to her cousin, Vickie Landry, who ended up being the class’s salutatorian. From elementary school all the way up to high school they rode the bus to school together, and worked alongside each other. If there was a test coming up, they taught each other the material and tested one another. The two were even doubles partners on the high school tennis team.
Sister Landry’s admiration for her RSCJ college professors is what initially piqued her interest in the Society of the Sacred Heart. From the time she was in grade 8 until she graduated from high school, she attended a Jesuit-preached high school girls retreat, at Grand Coteau.
Having had a positive introduction to the Religious of the Sacred Heart, Sister Landry enrolled at the College of Sacred Heart, in Grand Coteau in pursuit of a degree in education. As part of the school’s orientation, all first-years, who had not attended Catholic high schools, were required to take an entrance exam to test their knowledge of religion. Although she had been raised Catholic, she failed the test. To this day, she still has a copy of the test and looks at the outcome with great amazement. At the end of her sophomore year, just two years after failing the exam, she was accepted into the novitiate in Albany.
Since becoming an RSCJ, Sister Landry has taught at Villa Duchesne Academy (St. Louis), Grand Coteau, City House in St. Louis, the Academies of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles, Missouri and New Orleans (The Rosary). She has taught in Network schools since 1955. When she moved to New Orleans in 1973, she applied for the job of middle school art teacher and remains in that role today. She loves watching and helping children see possibilities come to life as they turn blank sheets of paper into a world of different creations. As she guides students through the art projects, they’re able to discover their inner artist, and engage a part of themselves that, perhaps, wasn’t previously known to them. She believes that each individual has a light inside of him or her—one that cannot be extinguished, destroyed or changed, because the light is a manifestation of God’s presence within the human being. As an art teacher, she has the joy of helping her students uncover the unique light that God has placed in them.
Sister Landry believes that students graduate from Sacred Heart schools with the feeling of infinite possibility, in large part because of the value that Sacred Heart education places on self-discovery. She has worked with thousands of students over the course of her 60-year teaching career in Network Schools, and she contends that each one graduates with an “I can do this” attitude.
Sister Landry looks at the world with an inquisitive questioning eye. The deeper question always intrigues her. She seeks to discover the meaning and value in different areas of life. For her, an old pile of bricks lying on the ground transforms into a beautiful sight when she stops to appreciate the line and color variations in the scene. Watching movies is a delight for her, because she tries to understand better the individual and society through the costumes worn by the cast, the things used to set each scene; the nature of the action and dialogue. The colorful printed fabrics of her aprons become an opportunity to reflect on the how we’re all members of an interconnected universe. Ecology is a favorite subject.
In stopping and searching for the beauty in everyday life, Sister Landry makes every day count. “All you have to do is live today,” she says. “You only can only do so much to prepare for the future, but you have to make a good day today.”