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August 05. 2012 9:12PM

Rivier University leader celebrates her 100th birthday


Sister Adrienne Beauregard shares a moment with Sister Lorraine Aucoin during Beauregard's 100th birthday celebration on Friday at Rivier University in Nashua. (KIMBERLY HOUGHTON PHOTO)


Sister Adrienne Beauregard laughs with Joe Fagan of Amherst during her 100th birthday celebration on Friday at Rivier University in Nashua. (KIMBERLY HOUGHTON PHOTO)

NASHUA — The secret to aging gracefully may depend upon who you ask, but for those who know Sister Adrienne Beauregard best, they say the key to living a long and prosperous life is balance.

Beauregard, who celebrated her 100th birthday with a spectacular party on Friday, has found the perfect balance between ministry, prayer and of course, sleep, say her friends and family members.

“Having known her and having lived with her is an experience of peace and wholeness,” Sister Claire Provost said of Beauregard.

“She loves life, and she never thinks of herself — that is what keeps her going.”

Beauregard is the only living sister who served as a direct collaborator with Sister Madeleine of Jesus, the founder of what was once Rivier College and is now Rivier University.

About 230 of Beauregard's closest friends gathered at the Dion Center at Rivier to toast to a woman who dedicated 63 years of service to the school, spending much of that time as treasurer, chief financial officer and master builder.

“Without her, the college would not have survived,” Sister Lucille Thibodeau, former president of the college, said of Beauregard. “There aren't enough words to describe how valuable she has been. She is a fiscal genius and an amazingly centered person.”

People from as far away as France and California traveled to New Hampshire to attend Beauregard's birthday bash, which was complete with a six-foot long cake, a large scale rendition of Madeleine Hall. The cake was created by Dave Okapal of Philadelphia, Pa., a former contestant on the Food Network Challenge.

Just like the extraordinary cake, Beauregard has overwhelming amounts of charm and compassion that can fill a room instantly, say her friends, adding she is as sharp as a tack despite her mature age.

“She spent most of her professional career here at Rivier, often sleeping in her office. She set the standard for maintaining an institution that was financially sound,” said Joe Fagan, who replaced Beauregard after she retired about 27 years ago.

Adrienne Hall on campus was named after Beauregard. It houses the school's financial aid, registrar, business, academic advising and administrative offices.

Beauregard is a master on the computer, and still keeps in touch with many of her friends, relatives and former co-workers via email, often sending out dozens of emails a day.

“She is all about ministering to others, no matter what the connection may be,” Provost said of her good friend. “She is a wholesome woman and always has been. Her turning 100 is really a triumph.”

Beauregard currently lives at the Provincial House of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary in Manchester. It is women like Beauregard who will continue to make Rivier a successful place to work, attend school and minister, according to Thibodeau.

Rivier College was founded as a Catholic institution in 1933, and officially became a university on July 1. It has about 2,300 students and more than 800 graduate students, with an average of 500 students graduating from Rivier each year.

khoughton@newstote.com


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