Sister Mary Bertrand Austin, OP, a Dominican Sister of Caldwell for 70 years, offered a lifetime of dedicated service to the people of God. Although soft-spoken, the strength of her convictions was clear and steadfast. She exemplified the Gospel message to love one another as God loved her.

A prayerful and humble woman, Sister Bertrand noted that her vocation as a Dominican Sister was her greatest gift. She entered the congregation on February 2, 1951, received the habit on September 10, 1950, made first profession on September 13, 1952 and final profession on September 13, 1958. Sister Bertrand entered eternal life on September 9, 2021.

Sister Bertrand possessed an astute insight into people and their needs and quietly encouraged and supported them. Her calm demeanor and profound presence to others were gifts she shared in her various ministries. Sister served as the business office assistant at Lacordaire Academy, Upper Montclair, as well as on the board of trustees. While living in New York State, she ministered as the assistant to the treasurer for the Sisters of Saint Francis of Peace, Haverstraw, NY. Sister Bertrand served in various congregational ministries: as councilor on the leadership team, member of the formation team and novice director, Dominican Common Novitiate representative and superior at Saint Catherine of Siena Convent and Healthcare Center. Previously, she was assistant principal/dean of students at Saint Dominic Academy, Jersey City, development director for Project Link, Newark, and an instructor at Caldwell University. Sister ministered as both principal and teacher at Our Lady of the Lake School, Verona, and teacher at Saint Aloysius School, Caldwell.

A dedicated community member, Sister Bertrand was committed to the mission of the Dominican Sisters and always embraced the opportunity to work for justice and reverence for all creation.

Sister Bertrand made a difference in the lives of countless students, parents and colleagues and did so with a joyful spirit and compassionate heart. A testament to the respect and love others had for her are found in those who kept in touch with Sister throughout the years. One of her former students remarked that, “we honor Sister Bertrand best by striving in our lives to manifest to others the virtues she lived so gently and lovingly.”

We thank God for the gift of Sister Bertrand and for all that she was and all that she did with a generous spirit and loving heart while she was with us.

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