In Memory of
Dominican Sisters
Congregation of St. Mary
New Orleans

Marie Clotilde Elizabeth Preis
July 2, 1914 - December 27, 2000

Clotilde was the third child, second daughter of Dr. Clotilde Jauquet and Dr. Edward B. Preis. Sarah, the second child, was struck and killed by a streetcar at fourteen months. Clotilde, born two years later, became the focus of her mother's attention. Dr. Jauquet was a pioneer; a specialist in ear, nose, and throat; she was the first native New Orleans woman to study medicine. Women were not admitted to medical school in New Orleans, so she got her Ph. D. in pharmacy and then went to Women's Medical College in Pennsylvania. When she was not allowed to practice in local hospitals, she helped found the New Orleans Dispensary for Women and Children.

In 1932 her daughter Clotilde, a shy girl of eighteen, one year after completing the academic program at St. Mary's Dominican Academy with some difficulty, determined to join the sisters. Dr. Jauquet was reluctant to part with her "baby;" Clotilde went home briefly, then returned to the convent in time to re-join the largest group of postulants in the history of St. Mary's community. In April 1933, fellow novice Sister Mary Alice wrote to their novice mistress, Mother Mary Dominic, away on vacation, "Clotilde is still helping others." In contrast to her daughter, Dr. Jauquet was outgoing. Always cordial to the sisters, she is remembered for supplying homemade cherry bounce and anisette to whichever was her daughter's community at the time. 

Sister taught thirty-eight years, usually third grade. In New Orleans: Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Anthony of Padua, St. John the Baptist, St. Leo the Great, and St. Matthias (where Al Daniel, Sister Mary's brother remembers her fifty-five years later as "a lovely, lovely lady"). In south Louisiana rural schools: St. Peter (Reserve), St. Joseph, (Paulina) and Holy Ghost (Hammond). In 1970 she was assigned slow learners at Our Lady of Lourdes, and then served as an aide to the first grade teacher at St. Peter, and later at St. Rosalie, Harvey, across the Mississippi River from New Orleans. 

She was often assigned the infirmarian's role, not only because of her parents' medical background, but also because of her patient, gentle, and generous nature. In Reserve, a young Sister Betty Doskey had complications from a sprained ankle, and was confined to bed for two weeks. "Clo" came over at "little recess," at lunch, and after school, lavishing her with care. Betty had forgotten, until she was visiting Sister, now doubled over with arthritis in the motherhouse infirmary, and Sister Mary Clotilde, smiling, asked her "Do you remember in Reserve when you sprained your ankle?" Fifty years had passed, but the vivid memory of her kindness came back to Betty. And Betty Ann Boudreaux recalled the days when the impossible was the norm, and Clotilde's ultimate kindness: "She did our Saturday charges while we were at class." 

In 1970 Sr. M. Veronica began a charismatic prayer group at the college. Clo with seven other sisters was a charter member, and continued until her health gave out. One of the group, Carla Reinhard, now a hospital chaplain, told of Sr. Clotilde instructing her in Catholicism. The student was not ready, and the teacher was infinitely patient until the readiness came.

At the vigil Sr. Shirley said what we all might wish to have said of us: "I lived with her in community and I never heard her speak badly of anyone." Carmelite was inspired by Clotilde's witness to contemplative prayer. The nursing assistants, who know, said, "She prayed all the time." The Cure of Ars would have recognized her as a kindred spirit.

In a 1933 scrapbook from her novitiate, "The Unturned Page," a

 

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