Sr. Monica (Frances Marie) Stelly, MSC, died peacefully at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Nursing Home in Opelousas on Dec. 15, 2018
Frances was born Nov. 20, 1922, in Lake Charles. She graduated from St. Charles Academy then entered the Marianites of Holy Cross on Sept. 8, 1938. She pronounced perpetual profession on Dec. 31, 1943. Sister Monica received a degree in education from Holy Angels Academy in New Orleans and a Master of Arts in Education from Notre Dame University in South Bend, Ind. Certified in math education, she was involved in elementary and high school education in Crowley, Eunice, Morgan City, New Orleans, Plaquemine, Ville Platte, and Lake Charles.
During her time in education, she served as principal of Holy Angels Academy in New Orleans, St. Edmund High School in Eunice and Holy Cross High School in Morgan City. In addition, as choir director, she orchestrated many musical presentations through her talents of singing and playing the organ. Her former students especially hold dear her gift of leading them in Handel’s Messiah. By her devotion and commitment to music and education she touched and changed many lives.
Always stately in stature, Sr. Monica was a formidable presence. When she walked the halls as principal or directed the choir, she could immediately put things in order by a glance or nod of her head. As religious superior, the Sisters who lived with her still cherish her many acts of kindness to them that brought joy to their lives. Until the end of her life, even in her wheel chair, she was a no-nonsense administrator observing, monitoring, and encouraging all who were in her environment. She would also delightfully share stories of her early life on the farm in Sulphur and recall the students who were fortunate enough to have her as teacher and principal.
Her last years were spent at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Nursing Home in Opelousas. As she enters eternal life, the values of her dedication and fidelity to duty, gratitude, devotion to education and her religious vocation are the lessons she passes on. Certainly now, Sr. Monica hears the words of Christ lovingly spoken to her: “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come and share your Master’s joy.” (Matthew 25:23)
Sr. Monica was preceded in death by her parents, Aurelie M. Stelly and Juanita Hebert Stelly; and her sisters, Sr. Mary Grace Stelly, O.P., May Bell Stelly Thibodeaux, and her brothers, Louis Andrew Stelly and Leo Stelly. She is survived by her sister, Dr. Yvonne Stelly Anderson, as well as, her beloved nieces and nephews, Gaynell Thibodeaux Louviere, Lafayette, Susan Thibodeaux Blevins, Terrell John Thibodeaux Jr. and Laurie Thibodeaux Cormier, all of Lake Charles, and their families, and many friends who were faithful and devoted to her throughout her life.
To celebrate her life, a wake service was Wednesday, Dec. 19, in the chapel at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Nursing Home in Opelousas, followed by the Mass of the Resurrection To honor the memory of Sr. Monica, the Marianites of Holy Cross request that memorial donations be made to the Marianites of Holy Cross, Congregational Center, 21388 Smith Road, Covington, LA 70435 or The Sister Monica Stelly Scholarship Fund at Immaculate Conception School, 1536 Ryan Street, Lake Charles, LA 70601.