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.
Invited speaker, Denitsa Tsvetkova will share on the topic: "Who is God?” from the perspective of the Orthodox faith, during the second day of reflection to be held February 9th at Marie-Rose Residence.
Ms. Tsvetkova works at the "Canadian Center for Ecumenism" where she is coordinator of the Interfaith Forum for Peace. Editor-in-chief of the magazine "Ecumenism". Ms. Tsvetkova has an impressive track record.
After obtaining a master's degree in theology in Bulgaria, her native country, she added another master's degree in European Science and Social Sciences. She is currently a PhD student in practical theology at the Université de Montréal. Her research focuses on the communities of Eastern European immigrants in Montreal as well as on cultural diversity.
Denitsa Tsvetkova is the first Orthodox woman in the chaplaincy of the Canadian Armed Forces. Very involved in her community, she has set up numerous projects for adults and children at the Bulgarian Church in Montreal.
During the second part of the meeting, she will speak about her own journey of faith. There is no doubt that the audience will fully benefit from the sharing of this woman who has been working for years in the area interreligious and intercultural dialogue, inspired by Trinitarian love theology.
Several concerts, initiated by the Recreation Committee were presented last Fall, at Maison Jésus-Marie. Prior to the holiday season, two new groups were a hit with the audience.
The vocal ensemble Via Voce de Chambly accompanied by Marie-France Veilleux, organist and Valérie Grenier, piano, presented many musical pieces by Gabriel Fauré including the Nocturne No. 1 in E flat minor, opus 33 for piano, Les Berceaux (the Cradles), opus 23, no. 1 (1879) - text by Sully-Prudhomme, Tantum Ergo, opus 65, no. 2 - text by St. Thomas Aquinas and le Cantique of John Racine, opus 11 - text by Jean Racine.
This concert, which took place on November 4, under the direction of Cécile Allemand, conductor, concluded with Fauré's Requiem, opus 48 for soprano, baritone, choir and organ. The ensemble, which comprises some fifty adult singers, was very successful. The choir, as well as the soloists Marc-Antoine d'Aragon, baritone and Rachel Guertin, soprano, greatly delighted their audience.
Created in 2008, this group aims to make choral music accessible to everyone. It is a member of the Quebec Choral Alliance and presents two major productions a year. The vocal ensemble frequently sings at special events as well as and in retirement homes. It also went on a concert tour in the South of France in 2015 during the 20th Choral International Festival in Provence.
The Tomo Inui Chamber Music Trio gave a wonderful concert on November 18th. Pianist and professor affiliated with the Montreal Conservatory of Music, Tomoko Inui brought together, Jung Tsuai, violin and Marc Labranche, cello.
The trio had given several concerts in Quebec and elsewhere prior to the one at Maison Jésus-Marie. To see the happy faces of those present, it was obvious that the musicians had delighted them.
Photos: Sr Suzanne Brault
For once during her life, Sister Georgette, centenarian, was in the spotlight
In her tribute, Sr. Beverley Wattling, provincial councillor, reminded us of the kindness and the service-oriented qualities of Sr. Georgette who accomplished many things during her long career.
After having taught music for ten years, Sr. Georgette began working at Vincent-d'Indy School of Music holding several jobs. For 17 years, she worked in the printing office of the secretariat while also assuming the heavy responsibility of overseeing the impeccable operation of 100 pianos! It was an essential but obscure task.
She later became a member of the SNJM community at Chalet Jésus-Marie in Saint-Sauveur. Sr. Georgette was then immersed in welcoming and hospitality in this holiday venue. Here again, she distinguished herself by her tireless spirit, her desire to make vacation or rest time memorable for every Sister who stayed there. "She has been known, loved and appreciated by many Sisters," noted Sr. Beverley.
At the age when the majority of people were retiring, Sr. Georgette moved back to Montreal and worked in the accounting and maintenance departments at the Motherhouse in Outremont. When the Motherhouse closed, Sister Georgette moved to Maison Jésus-Marie in Longueuil and continued her volunteer work in the payroll department. .
"A dedicated woman, engaged and interested in the issues of today's society, Georgette always finds something to do," added the provincial councilor.
This woman who has a good sense of humor, describes herself as a "Jack of all trades" or "a woman who can do anything", found her recipe for happiness, over the course of her well-lived 100 years.
Many years ago, she wrote, "I have always tried to be there my companions, either by rendering a service, out of kindness and consideration and not thinking of myself. I took care of myself last. So, I have always been happy.” Spreading joy around is a beautiful lesson in life.
Following the Mass, Sr. Georgette was celebrated during the afternoon at a festive reception attended by about thirty nephews and nieces.
The presentation of a video clip depicting the great aspects of her life surprised many, while recalling good memories and small shared pleasures. Special refreshments were later served in the cafeteria at the Saint-André Pavilion.
The festivities in honor of the centenarian continued the following day, with the presentation of the same video capsule to the other Sisters residing on the ground floor. Special refreshments were also served.
Photos: Sr. Suzanne Brault
The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) and Associates joyfully gathered at Maison Jésus-Marie to launch the 2018-2019 new year of activities under the theme "A future full of hope". The timing of this province gathering on October 6th coincided with Mother Marie-Rose's birthday and death date.
A song composed by Robert Lebel set the tone for this dynamic meeting:
Let's be what we need to be
And we will see the seeds of the future!
Let's be what we need to be
And we can be reborn with the breath of the Spirit!
These meaningful words conveyed the spirit of the message delivered by the members of the Provincial Leadership Team. Referring to the highly evocative symbolism of "The Parable of Workers in the Vineyard", they proposed focusing on the lived reality experienced by the Congregation in Quebec.
They further recalled the mandate entrusted to them to "do things differently" to prepare for the future taking into account the current situation of the community. They once again stressed the three paths proposed, namely co-responsibility, transmission, mission, before focusing on several elements, including:
• Our future is in the unity and solidarity we create among ourselves and with others.
• We have a cultural and spiritual heritage to impart.
• It is important to leave meaningful signs of our presence.
• Remain confident that other vine dressers will take over.
• Stay on mission until the end!
• Corporate stands are our common ministry.
• Collaborate with others to build a better society where interculturality and interreligious dialogue are possible.
The meeting continued with inspiring messages from emblematic SNJM figures. Mother Marie-Rose, portrayed by Mrs. Geneviève Noël, addressed those present, followed by Mother Veronique-du-Crucifix and Mother Thérèse-de-Jesus (respectively portrayed by Sr. Monique Bonin and Sr. Mary Ellen Holohan). A breakout session and a plenary session completed this portion of the meeting.
The members of the Provincial Leadership Team then presented their action plan for the year 2018-2019, which will inspire everyone to live out the theme of the year "A future full of hope". This theme will be developed around three priorities: a legacy to live by, to celebrate and to transmit.
Subsequent to this presentation, our General Superior, Sr. Linda Hadock, highlighted how the Sisters and Associates of Quebec have brought "light for the whole of our Congregation during its175 years! ". She gave some examples of actions that are "full of hope" lived out in our other provinces and in the Mission Sector.
The gathering ended with a missioning ceremony during which each person was invited to commit to "building community and being people of hope.” At the exit of the chapel, a flier was handed out inviting the participants to take concrete action in favor of action to protect the rights of workers with an immigrant background.
Special refreshments were served in the cafeteria after which the participants were invited to attend Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue Cocathedral for the Eucharistic celebration, presided over by Bishop Claude Hamelin, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Saint-Jean-Longueuil. This Mass marked the conclusion of the public celebrations of the 175th anniversary of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) in Quebec. Wine and cheese were then served in the lobby, to the Sisters, Associates and parishioners.
Indeed, a fitting way to end a rejuvenating afternoon.
Text: Sr Marie-Paule Demarbre