The Eucharistic Celebration of December 8 at Maison Jésus-Marie brought to a close the year-long festivities held in honour of the 175 years since the foundation of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM). The feast of the Immaculate Conception was celebrated with a special focus on “Hope” – the theme of the Quebec Province this year.
In her introduction, Sister Denise Riel, Provincial Animator, shared a number of poignant points while creatively weaving links between them. She introduced Sister Simone Perras who would give an inspiring homily.
Simone shared some personal life experiences based which she related to the story of the Annunciation and more particularly to the figure of the angel. From the outset, she captured everyone’s attention by posing the question: "Are there angels who have come to upset, to transform my life by their unexpected requests?"
And Sister Simone’s answer was YES. By pointing out some of the various requests received along her way, Sr. Simone also identified several moments in our SNJM history. She also highlighted the role of her "angel", Sr. Mariette Payment, who came back several times to make special requests.
"Mariette Payment challenged me ... to get to know myself better and encouraged me to commit myself to the heart of my community. I consider this a precious grace in my apostolic life."
In recounting the various aspects of her calls to service, Sister Simone enlightened the audience regarding some of the major stages in the evolution of what seems obvious to her: the Congregation founded by Eulalie Durocher. Her testimony also shed light on the obvious: "God uses intermediaries to make known his presence and his calls. And, as for Mary, it is the Holy Spirit who accomplishes the work already begun."
At the end of her presentation, Simone reiterated the original question: "Is there an angel, a person who has been a sign of God for me; and who helped me move forward in life?" She then invited everyone to continue the reflection either alone or in a group. She concluded with the other just-as-meaningful question: "Am I aware of having been someone else’s angel (besides being the angel of a postulant)?”
This sharing was followed by singing "What wonders, what wonders the Lord has done for us" and the renewal of vows.
The Presider, Fr. Gilles Ménard, was presented the following symbols during the Offertory procession:
After Communion, Sister Yolande Crépeau read some excerpts from the writings of Pope Francis. During this celebration, Sister Huguette Désourdy directed the singing, accompanied on the organ, by Sister Monique Pomerleau.