PORTLAND – Sister Eleanor LaForge, RSM (Mary Flavian), 95, a prize winning multimedia artist, died peacefully Aug. 7, 2012, at St. Joseph’s Rehabilitation and Residence Center, after a long illness. Sister Eleanor was born Oct. 5, 1916, in Old Town, to Eben and Rose Goudreau LaForge.
She entered the Sisters of Mercy after graduating from John Bapst High School in 1934. She was a communicant of St. John’s Parish, Bangor. Upon entering the Sisters of Mercy, Sister Eleanor began her post graduate education at St. Joseph’s College, Standish, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Education. Sister Eleanor’s love for the arts brought her to study art at the University of Maine, Orono; Portland School of Applied Arts; and Boston University, where she received her master’s degree in fine arts. Her teaching career spanned the lower elementary grades through adult education. Sister Eleanor’s elementary schools included St. Edward’s, Bar Harbor; St. Mary’s, Bangor, as principal; St. Dominic’s, Portland; and Cathedral, Portland. Her interest in science led her to become the recipient of three National Science Foundation grants at Colby, Bowdoin and Wellesley colleges. She then began her high school ministry at John Bapst High School, Bangor; Cathedral High School and Catherine McAuley High School, both in Portland, teaching both science and art. In 1977, Sister Eleanor was co-founder of Mercy Education Center Creative Arts – MECCA at St. Joseph’s Convent specializing in ceramics and watercolors for the Sisters and other interested adults. She was also a member of SURGE, a group dedicated to the betterment of retired Sisters. Retirement years gave Sister Eleanor more time to dedicate to the fine arts she had such a passion for. Sister Eleanor’s creative and artistic gifts were on display in several exhibits at St. Joseph’s College, Standish and Bangor Public Library, Bangor. Her Educational background prompted her to share her poetry in the booklet, “Senior Perspectives: Spirituality” where she was attending Senior College at University of Southern Maine. Sr. Eleanor’s life was an appreciation of all of God’s wonderful gifts of creation as her words in her poetry states, “God’s world of sun and sea and cliff, Makes living one of God’s choicest gifts.”
Sister was predeceased by her parents, Eben and Rose Goudreau LaForge; aunt, Sister Mary Flavia LaForge, who was also a Sister of Mercy; cousins, Patricia and Lawrence LaForge. She is survived by cousins, John LaForge of Harpswell, and Nancy Lewis of Portland; as well as her friends and Sisters in community.
Visiting hours will be 4-8 p.m. Friday with a 7 p.m. prayer service at Conroy-Tully Crawford South Portland Chapel, 1024 Broadway, South Portland. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Pius X Church, 492 Ocean Ave., Portland. Burial will be at New Calvary Cemetery, South Portland. Memorial gifts may be made out to Sisters of Mercy Development Fund, 966 Riverside St., Portland, ME 04103.