Sister Therese Maria Van Bourgondien, OSF, 1929-2022
Sister Therese Maria Van Bourgondien, a Franciscan Sister of Allegany who was known for her work as a nursing instructor and researcher, died Aug. 4, 2022, St. Elizabeth Motherhouse in Allegany.
Born Dec. 12, 1929, in Hillegom, The Netherlands, the daughter of Pieter and Emilie Stehmann Van Bourgondien, attended elementary school in The Netherlands until she was age 10, at which time her family emigrated to the United States. She completed her elementary education at St. Joseph School in Babylon and graduated from the Academy of St. Joseph in Brentwood in 1948. She attended Trinity College, Washington, D.C., and Manhattanville College in Purchase, earning a bachelor of arts degree in Biology with a minor in German. She continued her education receiving a master of science degree in Microbiology from St. John University, New York City.
Upon graduation, she entered the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany on Sept. 3, 1957, and professed her final vows on Aug. 16, 1965. As an Allegany Franciscan Sister for 65 years, she lived joyfully her call to reflect God’s love and mercy to all with whom she came in contact.
Sister Therese’s first ministry was as a lab technician at St. Francis Hospital in Olean. For the next several years, she taught at St. Joseph School and Archbishop Walsh High School in Olean, as well as St. Elizabeth Teachers College at the motherhouse. She began doctoral studies at St. Bonaventure University, earning her doctorate in 1967 in Biology, with a minor in Microbiology and Physicology.
For the next 12 years, Sister Therese was a nursing instructor at St. Clare School of Nursing in New York City, simultaneously conducting research and instructing at Good Counsel College in White Plains and Community College in Brooklyn.
She had a passion for lifelong learning and teaching, while at the same time she quietly and unassumingly enjoyed time at the ocean and lakes creating gorgeous watercolor images of nature. Walks along the Allegany River were treasured pastimes. Sister Therese was fluent in Dutch, German and English languages. She loved growing up with her favorite breed of dog, the dachshund, and the beautiful tulips grown in her parents’ floral shop.
In 2011, Sister Therese was warmly welcomed home to St. Elizabeth Motherhouse, where she continued to create artwork and images to share with everyone.
She is predeceased by her parents.
A funeral Mass took place Aug. 8, in the Motherhouse Chapel, followed by burial in St. Bonaventure Cemetery in Allegany.