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 | Teresa Peterson

A Birthday Very Few People Will Ever Celebrate – But She Did!

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What do you do when you turn 105? You celebrate, of course. That’s exactly what Frances Fecteau did on May 29th. The centenarian is a long-time parishioner of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Citrus Springs and her fellow parishioners marked the occasion by helping to throw her a surprise birthday party at Diamond Ridge Health and Rehab.

“She had always been active, until recently,” said her daughter Juanita Bowden. “Up until 100, she would be kayaking with her great grandson.” Bowden says her mom loves to do jigsaw puzzles and she has never smoked or drank alcohol.

Close to 40 of her friends from the parish attended the birthday bash, along with fellow residents at the nursing home facility.

“She said she couldn’t believe so many people remembered her. My mom has not been able to go to church for about three years,” said Bowden, who is currently a sacristan at the parish. 

The birthday festivities included cake, gifts and flowers. Father Sojan Punakkattu, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, was moved by the experience.

“This was one of the happiest occasions. This was a beautiful moment for me,” said Father Sojan. He led the group in prayer and blessed the guest of honor.

“I thanked God for the gift of her life. She has been such a wonderful part of our parish family for so many years. I asked God to give her good health, peace and comfort,” said Father Sojan.

Fecteau and her family moved to Citrus Springs from Maine in 1979, just three years after the parish was founded. Fecteua previously sang in the choir and was very active in the Council of Catholic Women. She was friends with Monsignor George Cummings, who passed away at the age of 102. He was founding pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish.

“Monsignor Cummings would visit my mom and the two would eat tuna fish sandwiches. She would tell him, ‘I don’t know why I’m still here.’ He would respond, ‘I don’t know why I’m still here either, but God has something still for us to do and he’s not ready for us yet,’” said Bowden.