“When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in
our life, or in the life of another.” Helen Keller…
Having done the best she could for ninety-six years, Sister Lavonne Long died peacefully on the morning of June 15, 2018. The third child of David and Nora (Mullins) Long, Lavonne grew up in Rushville, Indiana. After graduating from Rushville High School, Lavonne attended Marian College (University) for one year before entering the convent of the Sisters of St. Francis in 1941. This was a decision that estranged her from her father for seven years.
“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that
He didn’t trust me so much.” Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Lavonne was trusted by God and by her Community to be a teacher, advocate and guiding force for thousands of children and teenagers. She taught elementary students from 1944-1956. Then she began her long career at Scecina Memorial High School and St. Mary Academy in Indianapolis. She taught English at Scecina for eight years. This was always her favorite because of her love of the subject matter and the chance to inspire the students with writing and literature. Although she had no desire to be a principal, she was asked to serve in that capacity at St. Mary Academy for the next nine years. She loved the young women and their parents, but was called back to Scecina, this time as director of the guidance department.
“I could not at my age be content to take my place by the fireside and simply
look on. Life was meant to be lived. Curiosity must be kept alive. One must
never, for whatever reason, turn one’s back on life.” Eleanor Roosevelt
Lavonne retired as Director of Guidance in 1995, planning to live at Scecina and serve as a volunteer for a while. But she wasn’t content to “sit by the fireside and simply look on” and accepted a position as an administrative assistant at Scecina for ten more years. In an article in the Criterion newspaper, a Scecina staff member described Lavonne as widely loved and ageless. She not only continued to mentor the students, but was invaluable as a liaison with the alumni.
“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that is unique
as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you
love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working
hard and allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.” Oprah Winfrey
Sister Lavonne Long found her personal calling as a Sister of St. Francis and as a teacher, guide and mentor. She credited the late Sister Eileen Hoffman in helping to form her religious life and the late Sister Hortense Fougerousse in molding her professional life.
We extend our sympathy to Sister Lavonne’s family and friends and to the staff of St. Clare Hall. We especially want to thank the former students of St. Mary Academy and Scecina Memorial High School for their loyalty to Sister Lavonne who loved them so dearly. May her memory continue to inspire all of us to continued service in whatever way God calls us.