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Sister Mary Odile Cahoon

Sister Mary Odile Cahoon, OSB (82), who died at the Benedictive Monastery, St Siholastica’s College, Duluth, Minnesota, was founder of the college’s ‘study abroad’ programme in Ireland which has had its base in Louisburgh for more than 30 years. She was a much-loved figure in the West Mayo town.
Sister Mary died on October 2, 2011. Her last visit to Louisburgh was in 2004 for the 25th anniversary celebrations of Louisburgh’s holiday cottages where the ‘study abroad’ programme has been based from the beginning.
She had a scholarly reputation and taught biology at St Scholastica’s College for many years. In the 1970’s she was one of the first two women to be invited to spend the winter at the world-renowned research station in Antartica. She later became department chair, academic dean, vice-president and trustee at St Scholastica’s College. She served the monastic Benedictine community as treasurer for over a decade.
That list of accomplishments certainly doesn’t capture Sister Mary’s full life. She had a delightful sense of humour, wry and clever, and had a relish for enjoying life.
With her own sister, Sister Janelle, who predeceased her, she undertook a several day burro-trek through the Grand Canyon. More recently she and Sister Donna Schroeder participated in an African Safari Educational Programme for women in science. she never tired of visiting Ireland and especially Louisburgh where she was held in such high regard. She loved all things Irish.
In spite of her many responsibilities she served on a number of boards along with her other work. Sister Mary remained faithful to the Benedictive Horarium of prayer and was ready to offer hospitality wherever and whenever it was needed.
She will be greatly missed by her Benedictive Sisters, her many friends in Louisburgh where prayers were offered for the repose of her soul, and the many others who were touched by her life.
Following repose at the Benedictive Monastery, Sister Mary’s removal took place to Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel at St Scholastica’s College where her Requiem Mass was held. She was laid to rest in Gethsemane Cemetery.
May her soul have peaceful rest.