Sr. Martinette Rivers, OLS passed away on September 1, 2020 at Our Lady of Sorrows Convent, in Shreveport, Louisiana, at the age of 84. She lost her battle with cancer which she faced with strength, determination and optimism. Her love for life and friends filled her with joy and left a mark on so many people.
Visitation will be held on Friday, Sept. 4, at the Osborn Funeral Home on 3631 Southern Avenue, in Shreveport, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will not be a Rosary or Vigil service, but everyone is invited to pray individually for the eternal rest of Sr. Martinette. Please be mindful of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic; wear a mask and keep social distancing.
Honoring Sr. Martinette’s wishes and using safety precautions necessary in this time of Covid19, the Mass of Resurrection will be a private celebration.
Sr. Martinette was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, on Aug. 29, 1936, and baptized with the name of Joan Anne Rivers which was changed to Mary Martinette Rivers when she professed as religious with the Sisters of the Holy Ghost and Mary Immaculate. She entered that Congregation in San Antonio when she very young and made her First profession Aug. 23, 1953. On Aug. 21, 1958, she made her Final Profession.
She completed her BA degree in Art and English at the Incarnate Word College in San Antonio, Texas, in 1971 and her MA in Theology and Spirituality at St. Mary’s University in 1983 but she continued all her life to take classes, seminars and workshop in a variety of subjects. She was very proud of her Professional Certificate in Spiritual Gerontology which she earned on April 2004 from the Johnson Institute for Spiritual Gerontology.
Always very enthusiastic about life and full of energy, she ministered in the elementary and junior high schools directed by her religious family both in Louisiana, Mississippi and in Texas from 1954 -1974. In 1975 the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, hired her as Diocesan Vocation Director which she did until 1981. At that time, the reform of religious life requested by Vatican II Council favored changes in her religious family which made her uncomfortable. She requested and was granted the permission to transfer to the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows in Shreveport. After a time of preparation in Rome, in 1986 she was fully incorporated with this new religious family and ministered in the Shreveport Diocese and at Holy Rosary School. In 1988 she returned to Rome, in preparation for the new challenge she had accepted: to be a missionary in the newly opened mission in Dhaka Bangladesh. Returning to the USA in 2002, she focused on her new ministry helping elderly persons to appreciate and enjoy life, especially at Azalea Estates of Shreveport. She took a six year break from that ministry when she was called to go to Italy helping with translation of congregational material from Italian into English. She returned to minister at Azalea Estates in 2012 and only the pandemic of this year kept her from being physically present, but she continued to reach out to the residents through Facebook and phone calls.
Sr. Martinette will be remembered by many for her exuberant personality, her joy and ability to entertain anyone, her acceptance and respect for all, especially those more alone and abandoned. She loved her religious family and was very faithful to her prayer life and her devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Sr. Martinette was preceded in death by her parents, Thomas and Elizabeth Rivers, her sister Clothilde, her two brothers Thomas Leroy Rivers and Donald Rivers. She is survived by her sister Mary Glenice Rivers Sanchez, her brother Frank Rivers and wife Mary Beth, and Sarah Rivers, widow of Donald Rivers, numerous cousins, nephews, nieces, relatives, and her religious family, the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows Missions or Retirement Fund, 9894 Norris Ferry Rd. Shreveport, La. 71106