Sister Carole Anne Lessard, CSJ, died Friday, June 9, at age 78, after 59 years as a Sister of St. Joseph.
Born into a loving French-Canadian family. Sister Carole grew up with her sister and brothers in Immaculate Conception Parish in Astoria. She graduated from Our Lady of Mount Carmel School and from Blessed Sacrament High School in Manhattan. The following year, Sister Carole entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph and was given the name Sister Joseph Cecile.
After teaching the fifth grade in Saint Mary’s Maujer Street for two years, Sister Carole began her life’s work of advocating, supporting, and giving of herself for the developmentally and physically challenged as assistant director of the special edu-cation program in the Diocese of Brooklyn.
She was a pioneer in establishing P.R.O.S.P.E.R., an organization that aided and supported parents in their efforts to secure the best educational opportunities for their children. In addition to a BS in education from Brentwood College, Sister Carole studied accounting at Pace University, educational administration at Fordham and earned an MA in educational administration from Columbia University.
After 15 years in the diocesan office, she served as house parent at the Neumann Residence in Manhasset. She then moved into Hour Children in Saint Benedict Joseph Convent and later into My Mother’s House at Saint Rita’s in Long Island City where she shared life with formerly incarcerated women and their children. During these years Sister Carole was administrative assistant to the dean at the School of General Studies at Saint Joseph College (University).
Sister Carole’s death came peacefully on June 9. On June 16, Sacred Heart Chapel on the campus of the Sisters of Saint Joseph in Brentwood, N.Y. was filled to overflowing with people of all ages and backgrounds who gathered to celebrate the life of Sister Carole.
Her dear friend, Sister Tesa Fitzgerald, spoke of Sister Carole’s life as a Sister of Saint Joseph.
Father Stephan Lynch, along with Msgr. George Ryan, concelebrated the Mass of Resurrection for Sister Carole. She is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Brentwood.