Claire Saizan

Claire Saizan, RSCJ

Birth: Jan. 1, 1910
Profession: Jul. 31, 1945
Death: Feb. 16, 2011

Death of revered teacher and centenarian Claire Saizan, RSCJ

Claire Saizan, RSCJ, a revered teacher who believed educators are mystics “driven by a love to share,” died in her sleep on February 16, 2011, at Oakwood, the Society of the Sacred Heart retirement center in Atherton, California. She was 101 years of age.

She was born on January 1, 1910, to Paul Sarazin Saizan and Marie Demoruelle Saizan, in New Orleans, Louisiana, grew up there, and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1930 and a master’s degree in 1932, both in English, from Loyola University, New Orleans. She then taught elementary school in New Orleans and, in 1936, entered the novitiate of the Society of the Sacred Heart at Kenwood in Albany, New York. She made her first vows in 1938 and her final profession in 1945.

Sister Saizan taught for four years, 1940 to 1944, at Villa Duchesne, St. Louis, Missouri; for two years, 1945 to 1947, at Academy of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans; for twelve years, 1956 to 1968 at Academy of the Sacred Heart, Cincinnati, Ohio; and for nine years, 1968 to 1977 at Maryville University in St. Louis.

She taught for thirty-six years, in four separate stints, at Schools of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau, Louisiana. Though best known as a French teacher, she also taught English, history, Latin and math. She was noted for her love of history and politics and her enjoyment of a good argument – but most especially for her love of the Society of the Sacred Heart and of her students. “Generation after generation,” she said,” all for the glory of God.”

In 2002, Sister Saizan joined her RSCJ sisters at Oakwood, where her appreciation of intellectual curiosity gave life to the community. On January 1, 2010, a former pupil in Paris sent 100 pink roses, and the Oakwood community and friends from the Bay area joined her in a celebration of one hundred years of life.

The funeral Mass for Claire Saizan, RSCJ, will take place at 10 a.m. on February 26 at Oakwood, 140 Valparaiso Ave, Atherton, California. She asked to be cremated, and her ashes buried at the Academy of the Sacred Heart cemetery in Grand Coteau, Louisiana; a Mass and burial will take place there on Saturday, March 26 at 11 a.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Society of the Sacred Heart, 4120 Forest Park Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63108.


Submitted by Anonymous on

Remembering all Sister Saizan did for generations of young women at Coteau and the impact she had on my own life.  It was a privilege to be her student.

Submitted by tmeyerhoff on

The following appeared as a letter to the editor of the St. Louis Review:
"I was saddened to learn of the death of Sister Claire Saizan, RSCJ. Sisters Saizan touched countless lives with her gift of faith and spirit of generosity. I think we should all reflect upon her definition of educators: Mystics driven by a love to share. Today let us support our mission of education and support these modern mystics." ~ Mary Jo Hippe, St. Charles

Submitted by Enriqueta Belden on

I graduated from Clifton in 1960 and she was one of the faces I never forgot.
She made me feel very special and she made the difference  specialy in the hard times
May she rest in peace

Submitted by Debby Weber Rei... on

"Mother" Saizon, as I remember best, was at Clifton for many years. While only having had the opportunity to attend K-8 before its closing, I have memories of Mother. She often presided over study hall for us in 7th and 8th grade and if you wanted to go anywhere from the library to the restroom, you were required to ask in french. For a younger student, she had an imposing stature, but she always commanded our respect and encouraged us to be the best we could. As an adult, it is heartening to read the history of her life and know that she touched many hearts.

Submitted by Anonymous on

She was my mentor and a good friend. We both liked to argue and didn't always agree but she was there for me when I didn't have anyone else to turn to. I appreciate her thoughtful, generous nature and her quick, analytical mind, overwhich age had no effect. She told me she went to California to settle down and die. She must have got fed up waiting. Hope they give you a good book to read and a comfy chair in heaven.
With much appreciation and admiration, 
an old student.

Submitted by Betsy Gray on

Sr Saizan left such an impression that almost thirty years later, I still remember language tricks she taught me for SAT prep! My junior year at Conge Silent Auction, my mother bought me a hand knitted sweater from her. The next year I was truly blessed in that Sr Saizan picked me for Secret Santa and knitted me a matching turtle neck! All of us who were her students were lucky enough to have someone with such a passion for teaching in charge of our education.