HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. - Sister Marie Elaine LaChance, a member of the Congregation of Notre Dame since 1930, celebrated her 100th birthday Wednesday at Andrus on Hudson Senior Community with fellow sisters, friends and her favorite team, the New York Yankees, sending best wishes and gifts.
"I have enjoyed all my years and have so many wonderful memories that I can't single out one or two," Sr. LaChance said. "Serving (God) was my life work and so satisfying. “I take one day at a time and always have a good outlook on life. God gave me a gift – to be optimistic.”
Sister LaChance, who has lived at Andrus alongside several other sisters in her order for 10 years, was honored by her fellow sisters, several of whom came forward to share memories of their friend. Sr. Eleanor Verrastro offered a birthday toast and everyone sang Happy Birthday and two French-language birthday songs and "Take Me Out To The Ball Game".
As a sister of the Congregation of Notre Dame, she served many years as the community laundress in the Bronx and Staten Island. Since 1946, Sister Marie Elaine has been an enthusiastic fan of the Yankees. She does not miss a game on television and knows the stats of all the players. When asked, “Who is your favorite player” she responds, “They are all my boys. I pray for all of them.”
"This year's team has had so many injuries to the best players," said LaChance, who learned the game beginning in the early 1940s when lay workers listened to games on the radio while working with her. "We keep praying and hoping they can still make the playoffs. But you know, you can't win them all."
Sister Marie Elaine LaChance on Aug. 28, 1913 in Quebec, Canada. She was one of 15 children, though all her siblings are now deceased.
Sister Patricia Graham lived and worked with Sister LaChance for 15 years in Staten Island.
"Sister Marie Elaine is very humble, very gentle and very caring," Sister Graham said.
Before sharing her birthday cake, Sister LaChance received gifts from the Yankees, including a baseball signed by former Yankees and a special gift baseball from pitcher Mariano Rivera that had the 100-year-old smiling broadly. The ball was signed "God Bless You on Your 100th Birthday" - Mariano Rivera - #42."