1) Mom from Arthur Avenue said to me in Washington, D.C., “This morning Daddy died. I closed his eyes knowing I didn’t have to call any child to hurry and make peace with. That was a good feeling. Then I walked to the window and looked out on the same scene I’ve looked at for 42 years and said, ‘It’s my turn!” Eighteen and a half hours later, we arrived on Arthur Avenue. The night of the day Daddy died, Mom and I were going to sleep and she said, “You sleep on his side, I have the rest of my life here!” Mom saved the little coffee in Daddy’s last cup of coffee the morning he died. She put it in back of the spice rack turn next to the stove. Three weeks later just before returning home to Washington , D.C., we pitched it and washed the little cup in silence.
2) Five of my children left home that summer of 1965, Lee J. graduated from college on a Monday night and was preparing to pack for Ft. Sill, Bernadette graduated from high school the next night, Tuesday, and was to leave and did for summer school at Our Lady of the Lake College in San Antonio, TX…the children drowned two days later, Ascension Thursday. Charles was home for the summer and returned to Notre Dame in New Orleans, LA in August…Constance, Malcolm and Ione returned to St. Maria Goretti School in Lake Arthur, Dominique was 4 years of age; Robert and Wanda married November 6, 1965. (Mom)
3) I was in Bandera, TX one Mother’s Day morning circa 1971, and after realizing that I needed to be seated at the table on Arthur Avenue at high noon, I asked two friends to fly me in their private plane to Lake Arthur assuring them that I would know where to land! I did and we landed in the field next to the rice dryer on Hwy 14 after circling to herd the cattle away! I grabbed by ‘grip’, walked to the road & was picked up immediately, as one tends to stop after watching our landing and at 12:30 pm was at the table! When I told Mom how I had arrived for ‘her’ day, she who had been frowning said, “If I hadn’t had children, I would have been doing the same thing with you” breaking into a smile!!! I still had to wash the dishes!
4) Mom asked her former pastor on 8th street one day who had come to anoint her with the Oil of the Sick, “What do I do, I’ve never died before and how can I help my children help me?”
5) She had 14 children and now that she is old and ill, the 7 sons stay at night and the 7 daughters during the day and that takes care of the week! (…An elderly cousin of Mom’s with whom we visited on one of our many ‘birthday trips’ to Roberts Cove, LA!’)
6) “MOTHER” Like the song ‘the word that means the world to me’, like my mother of whom I have so many thoughts I remember while taking care of my children. To give details would require many book volumes. I have been asked so many times, ‘how do you do it?’ Remember they come one at a time, everyday you know what you are going to do, that makes life easy. Staying home and taking care of your children can be joy. When you think about it, it is for a short time they are with you and if God calls some back to Him, at least you had some time to enjoy them. Our children are only loaned to us, now we know where they are and that is a goal every mother hopes to achieve. Don’t worry about the parties or missed vacations you could not take. There is always time for those things. When God calls your children back to Him, at least you had time to enjoy them, so our children are only on loan to us. Written by Gertrude Monlezun, Mother of the Year 1984, Catholic Daughters of America.
7) Mom, the white tornado, would appear on Spring Street many a Saturday morning ready to clean! She would get the broom and I would turn on Gregorian Chant to work by! She said, “I can’t clean to those moaning men so turn on the Hackberry Ramblers and let’s get with the program!!”
8) The first page of Mom’s Medical Resource Book 1999:
STRONG WOMAN VERSUS A WOMAN OF STRENGTH
A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape,
But a woman of strength kneels in prayer to keep her soul in shape.
A strong woman isn’t afraid of anything…but a woman of strength shows courage in the midst of her fear.
A strong woman walks sure footedly, but a woman of strength knows God will catch her when she falls.
A strong woman wears the look of confidence on her face, but a woman of strength wears grace.
A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey, but a woman of strength has faith that it is the journey that will make her strong.’ Author Unknown
9) The Meaning of A Vocation. August 30, 1965
Mom was scheduled to speak at a Catholic Daughter meeting prior to the drowning that claimed two of her children in May of 1965. She requested Lee J., Jr. to assist her in writing these stunning words. She had had in religious formation two sons at Immaculata Seminary in Lafayette, LA and one daughter, myself, who was an ‘Aspirant’ with the Sisters of Divine Providence at Moye High School in Castroville, TX. Her third son was attending Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, LA.
“In broad terms, a vocation is a particular calling to a specific role in life. Like many of us here tonight, our vocation is truly one of a wife, mother or housewife as we are referred to by so many. However, tonight our thoughts turn to those who freely give of themselves in a religious sense and enter the religious life in our complex society. Some of you have had or will have sons and daughters who will answer a religious calling of our Lord and enter either a seminary or convent and there prepare themselves to someday meet the spiritual needs of their flock.
Far too many times, we as members of a parish think or are lead to believe that our giving up our sons and daughters is an eternal loss. However, how far from the truth can one be. To give a son or daughter back to Almighty God is the greatest of gifts we as human beings can offer Him Who gave them to us.
A story is told of a mother of a priest who was greeted at the pearly gates by the Blessed Mother. Mary slowly bowed and opened wide the gate of heaven for a mother who like herself upon Calvary’s height gave back to God that which was God’s.
Some vocations to a religious life come early in life while others still take time.
And we as Catholic Daughters should do all within our power to foster a young religious seed in our young people – for many have and will be called – but only few are chosen!”
(The four eldest children each felt a personal call to religious life however none remained. We are married with children and continue to live out our vocation in a myriad of ways and remain so very grateful to Mom and Dad for the opportunity afforded us to spend the exquisite time that we did in spiritual formation. That time was transformational! We have numerous friends in religious life and former religious, seminarians and religious sisters that we continue to gather with to this very day!)
10) May 14, 1961, Our Lady of the Lake Bulletin, Lake Arthur, LA
CROWNING OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN
We shall have the crowning of the Blessed Virgin on Wednesday evening at 7:00 pm. We expect all of our parishioners to attend. We charge our children to be present and all members of the sodality.
Each year the Catholic Daughters present as award to the Catholic Mother of the Year. The presentation of the award this year will be made to Mrs. Mazie Marceaux at the crowning ceremonies. Hence all Catholic Daughters and her friends should be present to see her receive the citation.
Three years ago, we awarded Mrs. Jules F. Broussard, Sr., as representative of elderly pioneer mothers; last year Mrs. Gertrude Monlezun was selected among the middle aged mothers. It is hard to select among so many, but all are selected for their attitude, not only to their families, but also for their good work in the Church and in community life. Moreover their habits in religion play a great part in the selection. An outstanding Catholic Mother is one who knows how to extend her maternal influence outside that of her home; she is also one who knows how to meet adversity in any shape or form and overcomes it. An outstanding Catholic mother is one who is modest in her behavior; one who receives the Sacraments frequently; one who attends Mass, not only on Sundays, but frequently during the week; one who is devoted to her children, as well as to the children of others.
Our prayers and hope is that these awards will serve to inspire all of our mothers as to the importance of motherhood and what it stands for. Our congratulations go to Mrs. Marceaux and with them the fervent prayer that God will bless her efforts and ennoble her character all the more for his greater honor and glory.
11) Mom was a Pink Lady serving at the Jennings American Legion hospital. Her area was the gift shop and the juice cart and was present and accounted for every Tuesday. The only reason that she would not report would be an event with her family and then would find a substitute for her duties. She particularly loved pushing the juice cart around the hospital for it brought her into contact and conversation with many a patient, family and friend. She knew how to listen, she knew how to be empathetic for she knew pain and loss first hand. During her wake 29 November 2000, seven pink ladies walked up to her coffin each holding a pink rose. They hugged us and said that they had something to read,
WE WILL REMEMBER
Day breaks and the sun sends its rays to warm the earth, We will remember.
Day comes to a close and the stars sparkle in all their glory, We will remember.
We will remember how you touched our lives and gave us your gift of sharing and caring. We will remember how you touched our hearts and gave us the gift of your love.
We will remember these things and many more because it is in remembering that your spirit lives within us. We will continue the journey you started so many years ago sharing the gifts you gave us with those we meet along the way. So, dear friend, rest in peace. Your work continues through us, your Pink Lady sisters. Sisters not by blood, but by choice. Author Unknown
Given in loving memory of Gertrude Monlezun who served 3616 hours during a 22-year membership in the Jennings American Legion Hospital Pink Lady Auxiliary.
They then gently placed their pink roses in a vase on a stand next to where she was truly resting in peace!
12) My “Mom” Monlezun,
I stood silently,
Gazing at the large stone that bore her name.
My salty tears began to flow
Like a never-ending fountain.
I suddenly realized she felt no more pain,
She would suffer no more,
And she could take care of me forever.
Now, she was truly my guardian angel.
Katherine Anne, third of five granddaughters, age 18 in 2000.
13) “Today is Sunday and Easter is tomorrow I am so happy because a lot of our family is going to be there at mamas house and when I go to her house I fell so happy because I know that she is holding all of us in her arms even so that mawmaw is not on earth but I know she is watching all of us down here on earth and she is all of our great awesome gardien angel and all of our best and wonderful friend. When we have a problem and we ask for her to pray for us she most defetly does and all of my other mama and papas in Heaven are praying for all of us for every step that we take and then one day when we die we can meet them and do the same for all of the other generraion that we have.”
Suzanne Louise Monlezun, the youngest granddaughter, age 9, handed to her Aunt Bernadette
27 March 2005, Easter Sunday!!!
14) 1994 CHURCH WORK…found written on scrap paper!
Pink Lady 234 hours
Choir Sat. 4:30 78 hours
Rosary for Wakes 39 hours
Folding bulletins 78 hours
Social Ministry 104 hours
Candles 52 hours
Funeral Mass 69 hours
Thanksgiving Basket 300 hours, 5 years
Lay Ministry 78 hours
1952 1 yr trustee
1954 Grand Regent
1958-59 Fraternal chairman
1958-60 3 yr trustee
1958-61 Catholic Mother – baby
1963 Fraternal chairman
1964 Fraternal chairman
1965 Fraternal chairman
1970 Vice Regent
Gertrude Monlezun, Charter Member, Catholic Daughters
(What a treasure! What a good and faithful servant all the days of her life! I want to be just like her when I grow up!)