The Centenary of Sr. Françoise Laberge – “I sincerely believe that old age is a grace… “

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A few days before the implementation of confinement measures to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, Sr. Françoise Laberge was treated to a celebration and festivities to mark her 100th birthday.

During the Eucharistic celebration, Sr. Beverley Wattling highlighted the journey of this centenarian, describing it as “a life filled with courage and gratitude, a life given in service to others.”

Drawing on her personal knowledge of Sr. Françoise and on the book she authored, “Snippets of My Life in Black and White”, Sr. Beverley emphasized her “gentle presence and openness to the needs of the world and those around her”.  Since her youth, she devoted many hours to taking care of her mother and her disabled sister, from whom she learned many life lessons.

After more than 30 years of teaching home economics, Sr. Françoise began a new career as a receptionist, continuing to offer others her open-mindedness and her listening skills. This career offered her “unprecedented opportunities to share others’ sorrows, to treasure their secrets, to carry in her prayer the multiple intentions that visitors, employees or Sisters who crossed her path entrusted to her with such touching and stimulating hope.”

At present, Sr. Françoise is continuing her ministry of listening and prayer at Maison Jésus-Marie by bringing her very personal flavor to it. “I sincerely believe that old age is a grace, a time of prayer, an opportunity for sisterly service, a continuous exercise of abandonment to the Lord.”

In her tribute, Sr. Beverley thanked Sr. Françoise “for being a grace for us, for being a woman who knows how to combine contemplation and action, who knows how to marvel not only at the flowers of the fields and the stars of the sky, but also at the richness of heart and spirit within the people you meet.”

Sr. Beverley concluded by expressing the wish that Sister Françoise may always feel and be comforted by the tender love that God and her companions have for her.

In the afternoon, a festive reception completed this special day.

Photos by Sr. Suzanne Brault