The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Sister Ethel Marie was core to Hesychia House

Published: June 26, 2020   

Sister Ethel Marie Sonnier, OSB, a religious for 68 years who composed several liturgical songs and enjoyed clowning ministry, died June 14 at Chapel Ridge Health & Rehab in Fort Smith. She was 85. 

She was born Jan. 13, 1935, in Church Point, La., to John L. Sonnier and Isabelle Thibodeaux Sonnier. According to her obituary from St. Scholastica, she had a love for her French Acadian heritage. 

On Feb. 2, 1950, she entered Immaculate Conception Convent in New Orleans. She transferred her vows to St. Scholastica Monastery in Fort Smith on June 17, 1973. She worked as a teacher in Louisiana, Missouri and Arkansas, including at St. Anne High School in Fort Smith. Sister Ethel  Marie served on the core team at Hesychia House of Prayer in New Blaine for 19 years, playing guitar, singing and composing liturgical music. She also served as a spiritual director. She enjoyed dressing up as “Tot,” part of her clowning ministry, and performed mime at the monastery and area nursing homes. 

In 2014, she moved to the monastery infirmary before going to Chapel Ridge. 

She is survived by her sister, Clara Darbonne. 

Sister Ethel Marie will have a private Mass of Christian Burial due to COVID-19. Memorials can be made to St. Scholastica Monastery Continuing Care Fund, P.O. Box 3489, Fort Smith, AR 72913.

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