PORTLAND – Sr. Frances Gallant, RSM, “Mary Celeste,” 86, a dedicated teacher, died peacefully May 3, 2006, after a long illness. Sister Frances Gallant was born in Gardiner, and was a member of St. Joseph’s Parish in Gardiner. Sister Frances graduated from Cathedral High School, Portland and entered the Sisters of Mercy from St. Joseph’s Parish, Portland. Her welcoming smile was a hallmark of her spirit of Mercy hospitality. Sister Frances received her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from St. Joseph’s College, Standish. She taught more than 45 years throughout the Diocese of Portland in the parochial schools; including Cathedral Elementary, St. Patrick’s, St. Joseph’s in Portland, St. John’s and St. Mary’s in Bangor, St. Joseph’s in Lewiston, St. Theresa’s in Brewer, Holy Cross in South Portland, St. Mary’s in Westbrook, St, Mary’s in Houlton, and St. Joseph’s in Farmington, where she was a teaching principal. She also taught in the public schools in Benedicta and Indian Township and also ministered at St. Elizabeth’s Home in Portland. Her specialty during most of that time was in the area of primary education where she delighted in bringing forth the gift of reading to the little ones. During this period of time, she also taught religious education programs to the young children, especially enjoying Sacramental Preparation. In 1977, Sister Frances Gallant had the opportunity to visit Sao Paulo, Brazil, at the request of the Rev. William Marley, M.M. While there, she taught English to the Novices of the Sisters of Charity of Miyazaki. Again in 1989, she spent several weeks teaching reading, religion and sewing to the Bahamian People at a mission of the Sisters of Mercy on Mangrove Cay, Andros Island, Bahamas. In 1987, Sister Frances retired from teaching and began her service to the community by caring for the Sisters on the Infirmary. During this time, she also served as a Eucharistic minister, nursing home visitor, a teacher in the SPRED Program, Project Faith XVII, Bible vacation school teacher and enjoyed summers with her friends on Little Diamond Island. An artistic and skilled sewer, she turned out exquisite cross-stitch and needlework as well as many other creative projects. She was a member of SURGE (a retirement program for Sisters) and contributed many beautiful afghans for the fair each year. Sister Frances Gallant was predeceased by her parents, Melvin J. and Theresa Lashow Gallant; and a sister, Isabelle Gallant Bradbury. She is survived by her niece, Anna Perna; and her nephew, Joseph Bradbury; as well as great-nieces and nephews, several cousins and her Sisters in religion. Visiting hours will be held 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Thursday at St. Joseph’s Convent, 605 Stevens Ave., Portland, where a prayer service will be conducted at 7 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held 4:30 p.m. Friday at St. Joseph’s Convent Chapel. Interment will be in New Calvary Cemetery, South Portland. Memorial gifts may be made in her memory to Retirement Needs of the Sisters, Sisters of Mercy, 605 Stevens Ave., Portland, ME 04103. Arrangements are under the care of Jones, Rich & Hutchins Funeral Home, 199 Woodford St., Portland.