Sister Cécile Bernier
“God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 1: 9
October 7, 2012, Sister Cécile Bernier,
in religion Marie-Joseph-Elzéar
went home to God.
She was 97 years old and had been professed for 77 years.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, she was the 6th of 8 children of
Joseph-Elzéar Bernier and Marie-Louise Sylvestre.
Cécile said she grew up “happily in a middle-class family of modest means. Her education was strict and highly disciplined, less favorable to higher studies, more favorable to working.” She graduated with a Diplôme Supérieur du Bureau central “under the watchful eyes of her SNJM teachers.“ (This Diploma entitled her to teach at the elementary school level)
From the time she received her First Communion, she had a great devotion to the Eucharist. She received communion daily and visited the Blessed Sacrament after school. She was 6 years old when she requested of Jesus that she become a Sister, a secret she revealed to her parents a year before entering the novitiate at the age of 18.
Over the course of 38 years, Sister Joseph-Elzéar taught students from Grade 2 up to Grade 9. Every two years she changed schools moving between schools and boarding schools in both the urban and rural areas. She found these moves difficult and drew upon her faith to keep the interest with which she nourished her young students alive and also for her community life. Her availability and quiet dedication was noticed and appreciated by those around her.
When Sister Cécile retired from teaching at the age of 66, she served as a secretary at the infirmary before being admitted there for her own care.
Regarding her years of illness, Sister Cécile would say: “Since I have been sick, I am living fully a life of solitude. Doing the will of God and others is leading me to detachment and true love. I reiterate my YES to Jesus every day and Mary keeps me serene and at peace.”
Sister Cécile died on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and finally met the Love of her life, the One to whom she was so devoted.