Michele Perigard MacEachern, 71, of North Miami Beach, Florida, passed from this life at her home on Wednesday, May 22 after a short illness. In her last few weeks, she was surrounded by family, friends and hospice caregivers. She is celebrated by her community and friends and family for a lifelong and dedicated career in education and church ministry providing years of service in religious instruction, theological study, tutoring, ESOL training and church liturgical music. Active for many years at St. Lawrence Catholic Church and School in North Miami Beach devoting endless energy for catechetical training within the Archdiocese of Miami, parish fundraising for the annual carnival and especially as music director/musician together with the parish choir leading worship services. Prior to their move to North Miami Beach in 1990 with her husband, Joseph, Michele served as the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Director providing religious education training in several parishes in the greater Boston area particularly at St. John the Evangelist Church in Winthrop, Mass as well as at St. John the Baptist Church in Peabody, Mass. Michele leaves her husband, Joseph, 76, of North Miami Beach, Fl., older brother, Arthur, 72, of Brimfield, Mass., Brother Christopher, 64, of North Brunswick, New Jersey and younger sister, Danielle, 67, of North Fort Myers, Florida. Michele leaves 4 nieces and nephews, Brigitte, Elise, Lauren and Evan, who with his wife Danielle have presented Michele just recently with grandniece Della Josette Perigard. Michele has numerous cousins in Connecticut, Florida and a large extended family of aunts, uncles, and second cousins in the province of Quebec, Canada.
Michele was born to Arthur and Yvette LaVallee Perigard on October 19, 1947 at the Waterbury Hospital in Waterbury, Connecticut. She graduated from L’Ecole St. Anne Grammar School in Waterbury, Connecticut and spent a short time at Catholic High in Waterbury. After the family moved to Enfield, Connecticut in October 1961, Michele transferred to Our Lady of the Angels Academy in Enfield, Connecticut, an all-girls high school run by the Felician Sisters. This order of religious women is dedicated to a Franciscan way of life and Michele was always committed to the service and spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. After graduation Michele entered the Felician Sisters convent which was on the grounds of the high school. Michele continued her studies with the Felicicans, earning her undergraduate degree from Trinity College in Washington, DC. One of her assignments was teaching at a Catholic grammar school in Hempstead, New York. Michele, after great discernment, chose not to profess her final vows and began her lay ministry. She went on to earn a Master's Degree in Divinity from Boston University with a special emphasis in Systematic Theology and pursued other academic graduate degree studies. During Michele’s long career in church and music ministry she functioned at every level as a presenter at academic gatherings and conventions as well as being a tutor, mentor and sponsor to all who asked. Michele had the gift of enabling people to feel the joy of life. She had a deep belief that her calling was that of a Christian Servant reaching out to help others. Michele always enjoyed remarkable energy, drive and enthusiasm. She particularly took great joy in helping to provide music and spirit at church based worship services together with choir and community. In later years, Michele was passionate about tutoring students studying English as a second language in Aventura, Florida. During her younger years, Michele was very gifted musically and played the piano, organ and guitar. While in high school, she began her music ministry as the organist at St. Martha's Church in Enfield, Connecticut, a privilege usually offered to adults. Her love and exuberance for church music led her to organizing pilgrimages from Boston to the Benedictine Monks of the Weston Priory in Weston, Vermont. The rich music and beautiful surroundings convinced Joseph and Michele to buy property and build a house there for retreats. Michele last visited the Weston Priory chapel on Veterans’ Day Weekend, 2018, and spent time in silent prayer and meditation. It was to be her last visit.
Family and friends are cordially invited to attend the graveside service in the Belle Isle section of Winthrop Cemetery on Tuesday, June 4, 2019 at 1:00 PM. Michele will be memorialized and blessed by a priest from St. John the Evangelist Church in Winthrop. Family and friends will share with words of consolation and faith amidst music and song which was one of Michele’s passions. Winthrop would have special meaning for Michele for it was there that Joseph and Michele met one another for the first time quite by chance at St. John the Evangelist School, and where they were engaged, married on June 28, 1975, worked as teachers and in church ministry, lived with family and friends and celebrated one another for many years.
Memorial gifts in the name of Michele can be considered for the Felician Sisters of St. Felix, Felician Sisters Motherhouse, 1315 Enfield Street, Enfield, Connecticut 06082.