Son of Wallace Hall ‘adoptee’ Mireille Marrion reflects on the help of Macalester students


Mireille Marrion and her three granddaughters. Photo courtesy of Pierre Bois d’Enghien.

Bergen Schmidt, Features Editor

On April 27, 1951, The Mac Weekly published a story about 135 residents of Wallace Hall who were caring for an “adoptee,” Mireille Marrion of Belgium, between 1949 and 1952. 

Marrion, who lived with her family in Ardennes, Belgium, at the time, received a special Christmas package from her Wallace Hall “foster mothers” every year containing soap, clothes, chocolate and other necessities. 

According to The Mac Weekly story, each “foster mother” contributed 20 cents a month towards Marrion’s support. This money was forwarded through the Foster Parents Plan, in New York, and then onto Marrion.

Now, 69 years later, Marrion’s son, Pierre Bois d’Enghien, found a clipping of the photo that was printed alongside the original article when he was going through his mother’s belongings after she passed in 2018.

“My mother and my father died in June 2018, in a car accident,” Bois d’Enghien said. “Finally, almost two years after their death, I arrived in my mother’s bedroom, and I have started to clean and I found a small clipping with no reference — on the clipping, there was only Wallace [Hall] and I saw on the t-shirt ‘Macalester.’”

For Marrion, who was born in 1935, students of Wallace Hall helped her during an important time in her life. Not only was the world recovering from World War II, but Marrion, a young teenager at the time, was studying to become a nursery school teacher. Bois d’Enghien believes that the help Macalester students provided was critical for his mother’s ability to live the life that she did.

After becoming a teacher, Marrion worked in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for six years and then settled in Belgium where she lived most of her life.

“Eventually, she started to work at the age of 17, when she worked afterward… in the Congo until 1962,” Bois d’Enghien said. “And then she spent her life in Belgium after [the] independence of the Congo [in 1960] as a teacher, in Belgium.”

Marion’s life was dedicated to being a teacher for young children — they were her whole life. She eventually retired in the early 1990s before her passing in 2018. 

Even after all these years, Bois d’Enghien is still grateful for the help Macalester students provided to his mother.

“When I saw this clipping I was really moved by the story because she kept the clipping until her last days,” he said. “I think it was really critical to our life. I was so happy to reach Macalester people, and I would like to give a testimony and a real thank you to your predecessors.”