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Nun from Manchester, who was world's 5th oldest person, dies at 115 years old

By SHAWNE K. WICKHAM
New Hampshire Sunday News
July 15. 2017 8:12PM
Mother Cecilia, a 115-year-old nun who was born Marie-Josephine Clarice Gaudette in Manchester in 1902, died Thursday at a convent in Rome. (Courtesy)

MANCHESTER - Mother Cecilia is home, at last.

The 115-year-old nun, who was born Marie-Josephine Clarice Gaudette in Manchester on March 25, 1902, died Thursday at the convent in Rome where she had lived since 1958.

Gaudette was the fifth-oldest person in the world. She also was the oldest living person born in America, the oldest living in Italy and the second-oldest person in Europe.

She was a "super-centenarian," a term for someone who has lived past 110.

Doreen Remillard of Manchester, Gaudette's great-niece, said the family got the news Thursday. She said her great-aunt was ready to go. "She was anxious to go to her Maker," she said.

"She had been praying for 15 years. She thought that God forgot her."

Her great-aunt was part of the first graduating class at Villa Augustina School in Goffstown, and later became a teacher there, joining the Congregation of the Religious of Jesus and Mary.

Remillard said she hadn't seen her great-aunt for many years, but kept in touch with her through emails, which other sisters would read aloud to her. "She was sharp as a tack," she said.

Gaudette, who was known by the other sisters as "Mother Cecilia," gained a measure of international fame in 2008 when she cast her absentee ballot in Manchester for Barack Obama, according to published reports. She told reporters it was her first vote since 1952, when she had voted for a Republican, Dwight Eisenhower.

Members of Gaudette's family happen to be together this weekend for a family reunion in Pembroke. Remillard said it's the perfect opportunity to stop and remember their beloved relative.

"I'm sure we'll say a little something and reminisce," she said.
Mother Cecilia, who died Thursday at 115 years old, is shown being wheeled into her 114th birthday party at the convent in Rome where she had lived since 1958. Mother Cecilia, was born Marie-Josephine Clarice Gaudette in Manchester in 1902. (Courtesy)


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