The Passing of Sr. Susanne Lachapelle
Sr. Susanne was born in Worcester, MA and entered the Little Sisters of the Assumption in
Haverford, PA in 1962 taking the religious name, Sr. Susanne Mary of the Sacred Heart. She
made her final vows in Dorchester, MA in 1971.
In her 60 years of religious life Sr. Susanne served in Charlotte, North Carolina and
Dorchester, Massachusetts; she served 4 years in the initial foundation of Newburgh Ministry,
an inter-congregational ministry in Newburgh, NY. She studied Spanish with the Little Sisters
in Colombia. For 45 years she made her home among the vibrant, life-giving, multicultural,
and at times socially challenging community of East Harlem. This is where her heart and life was nurtured until her passing due to a brief and unexpected illness.
Sr. Susanne lived a simple lifestyle, giving herself generously and selflessly to the people she was called to be among: the people on her home visits, her friends on the street as she walked to work, those made poor by circumstances, left out or marginalized by injustice. These became her family. “The suffering and challenges of God’s poor people, are a
channel of life in me. We are together as we reshape the world so everyone has a place to call home.”
Sr. Susanne was an integral part of the development of LSA Family Health Service from its early years in East Harlem. She was its soul, spirit, and tenacious advocate as it grew from a simple brownstone to the multiple-storied building on East 115th Street. Her appreciation for and love of each person who shared in this mission at the agency was palpable.
Her greatest desire was for everyone to carry this mission wholeheartedly with the emphasis of being family together believing that the power of growth is in relationships.
A Registered Nurse from St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, MA, and a Bachelors Degree from Boston College in Community Health Nursing, Sr. Susanne was integral to the nursing program at LSA Family Health Service. She embraced community health with a passion, networking with other health agencies and hospitals to coordinate the best care possible for the families served. Her colleagues became lifelong friends.
A passionate woman, she was committed to the work of Justice. Sr. Susanne served on the International Commission for Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation for the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Assumption who are present in 20 countries. An advocate for social justice and human rights, she collaborated with NGO Vivat International in bringing the voices of those kept silent to the United Nations. In recent years she embraced Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si, and formed a group in East Harlem to engage in dialogue, prayer, and action around the calls of the encyclical.
Sr. Susanne wants to be remembered as someone who had “Profound gratitude to God for my family, my life as a Little Sister of the Assumption and my Sisters, and for all the people who have filled my life.” The witness of her life will live on deeply in the hearts of all who walked with her throughout her pilgrim journey.
Sr. Susanne is predeceased by her parents, Edmond and Eileen (Whalen) Lachapelle, and her twin sister, Claire E. Anderson. She is survived by her sister Yvonne A. Souliere of Portland, Maine, her sister Judith E. Zalansky and her husband Michael of North Brookfield, MA, and her brother John D. Lachapelle and his wife Claudia of Westbrook, CT. She is also survived by eleven nieces and nephews, and several grand-nieces and grand-nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Sr. Susanne can be made to the Sisters or the LSA Family Health Service Agency where Sr. Susanne served the East Harlem community so faithfully and devotedly for 45 years.
LSA Family Health Service: https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=E163980&id=142
Donations by check, payable to:
LSA Family Health Service
333 East 115th Street
New York, NY 10029
The Little Sisters of the Assumption Religious Community: https://www.littlesisters.org/support.php
Donation by check, payable to:
Little Sisters of the Assumption
475 East 115 Street
New York, NY 10029