Sister Marie Gonzales, 81, superior general of order

February 14, 2003

Sister Marie Infanta Gonzales, a retired educator and former superior general of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, died in her sleep Feb. 7 at her order's motherhouse in Catonsville. She was 81.

Born and raised Bernadine Marie Gonzales in New Orleans, she earned a bachelor's degree from St. Xavier University in 1942, and her master's in education from Catholic University of America in 1963.

She entered the Oblate Sisters in 1945 and professed her vows in 1948. She came to Baltimore in the late 1940s as director of music at St. Frances Academy.

During the 1960s, Sister Marie Infanta served as director of the Head Start Program at St. Benedict the Moor Roman Catholic Church in Washington, and later supervised several of the program's centers in Miami.

At the time she was elected 12th superior general of her order in 1977, she had been assistant superintendent of parochial schools for the Archdiocese of Miami.

During her four-year term as superior general, Sister Marie Infanta was responsible for adapting her order to changes resulting from Vatican II.

From 1981 until 1989, she held assignments in Newark, N.J., and Philadelphia before returning to the motherhouse in 1990. She worked for several more years as bookkeeper of the Mount Providence Child Development Center in Catonsville.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Our Lady of Mount Providence Convent, 701 Gun Road.

She is survived by three brothers, Francis Gonzales, Raymond Gonzales and Louis Gonzales, all of New Orleans; and two sisters, Lorraine Williams of New Orleans and Lois LeBlanc of Oakland, Calif.

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