Sister Gertrude Durand
“The Lord has seized my heart” Song of Songs 4:9
November 22, 2013, Sister Gertrude Durand,
in religion Marie-Alcibiade
went home to God.
She was 95 years old and had been professed for 72 years.
Born in St-Jean-de-Matha, Quebec, she was the 10th of 16 children of
Alcibiade Durand and Anna Beaulieu.
Gertrude was 8 years old when her older sister, Lauréa entered the novitiate of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary at the age of 16. But ever since her First Communion, she had carried within her heart the desire to become a Sister. “My heart had been seized”, she wrote. Reciting the rosary and praying together daily as a family kept her faith and trust in God alive.“Mother’s death must have contributed to my leaving home for the One who often knocked on the door to my heart.” Gertrude entered the SNJM Novitiate the year after her mother’s death. She was 20 years old.
Sister Marie-Alcibiade (she had received her father’s name), taught both boys and girls, at the primary level for 36 years. She taught in our schools at Côteau-Station, St-Maxime, Contrecoeur, St-Léonard, St-Paul-l’Ermite and in the convent at l’Épiphanie. She also led the JEM Group (Jeunesse en marche – a youth group) and was also the parish sacristan.
When she was 62, Sister Gertrude, retired from teaching and served as an infirmarian at the convent in l’Épiphanie and later at Résidence Ste-Émélie., Initially, she helped our sick Sisters but quickly pedicure services became her speciality. For 13 years, she gave her very best to take care of the feet of her Sisters.
Following twenty years at Ste-Émélie, Sister Gertrude was admitted into the Infirmary, first at the Motherhouse in Montreal and then at Maison Jésus-Marie in Longueuil.
Throughout her life, “Sister Gertrude gave prayer a prominent place in her life“. The One who had “seized her heart” during her childhood, remained “her strength and her glory” about which she wrote: “I always found the strength and courage necessary to work for the greater glory of God in obedience to my superiors. Jesus and Mary were my support throughout my life”. To this she added: “May they also be my support at the time of my death!”
Sister Gertrude’s prayer was most definitely answered.