Mother Marie-Rose’s Tomb at the Co-Cathedral: 20 Years!

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It has been 20 years since an extraordinary event took place for the large Christian community of Longueuil and for the members of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM).

Painting by Sister Rose-du-Sacré-Cœur depicting the procession held during the transition from the Foundation House to the Couvent de Longueuil, the new home of the Sœurs des Saints Noms de Jésus-et de Marie (SNJM) 1844.

On May 1, 2004, the tomb of Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher was transferred from the Motherhouse in Outremont to the Co-Cathedral of Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue, in the Saint-Jean-Longueuil diocese. A return to her roots for the SNJM foundress, who took her vows in the same church that held her funeral in 1849.

The new location of Mother Marie-Rose’s tomb in a dedicated chapel (right transept) in the Co-Cathedral now made it easier for the faithful to pray to her and to ask for favors. It was also a concrete response to Mgr. Bernard Hubert’s message during the thanksgiving celebrations in Rome at her beatification in 1982, where he spoke of Mother Marie-Rose as an inspiring figure for the whole Church. “Her example enlightens our path, stimulates our courage and sustains our hope.” 

The 2004 event spanned three days, similar to an Easter triduum. The Sisters from the Motherhouse in Outremont took part in rituals, vigils and pilgrimages. Following the arrival of the remains at the Longueuil convent the following day, the Sisters took part in a welcome ritual and a prayer vigil.

Moments of emotion

On the morning of May 1st, members of the Congregation’s Leadership Team, followed by the Sisters, carried the reliquary to the Co-Cathedral. Children led the procession and formed an honor guard on the square in front of the church where hundreds of people were gathered.

This simple, joyful celebration was a moment of great emotion for all present. Sister Mary Pat LeRoy, Superior General, expressed her wish that the remains of the SNJM foundress “be preserved and venerated by the faithful”. The diocesan bishop, Mgr. Jacques Berthelet, officially accepted the gift offered to the parish before the remains were laid to rest in the tomb.

The pastor, Fr. Raymond Poisson testified: “I carried the casket containing the remains of Mother Marie-Rose to the heart of the assembled congregation and placed it at the tomb. It felt heavy, as if it were filled with all the intentions and prayers of the many who touched it as I walked by.”

 On May 1, 2024, the Sisters are marking this 20th anniversary in all simplicity with a celebration (text available here – link). This anniversary is an opportunity to recall the presence of Mother Marie-Rose’s tomb at the Co-Cathedral, and an invitation to visit the chapel, which was designed to encourage meditation and to discover the journey and contribution of the SNJM Congregation, still present in Canada, the United States, Brazil, Peru and Lesotho.

``The great traveller”

Mother Marie-Rose’s tomb was last moved in 2004 following the sale of the SNJM Motherhouse in Outremont. After careful consideration and the proper procedures, the Congregation’s Leadership Team confirmed the decision to repatriate the tomb to the parish where she had founded her Congregation. The announcement, made during the patronal feast of Saint Anthony at the Co-Cathedral on June 13, 2003, was greeted with thunderous applause from the assembled congregation. “It is a wonderful gift to the parish,” enthusiastically declared the pastor, Raymond Poisson.

Mother Marie-Rose, nicknamed the “great traveller”, made several “journeys” after her death. At the time of her death in Longueuil, she was initially buried in the convent chapel in 1849. Then, in 1853, her remains were moved to the cemetery near the garden behind the convent. In 1925, she was moved again to the Outremont Motherhouse, but not without first stopping, for a few hours, at Hochelaga Convent (former Motherhouse). With the sale of the Outremont building, a new move was necessary.

Mother Marie-Rose's Tomb at the Co-Cathedral: 20 Years!