Sister Claire Désilets
“I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Mt. 28:20
July 9, 2012, Sister Claire Désilets,
in religion Marie-Alice-Thérèse
went home to God.
She was 96 years old and had been professed for 72 years.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, she was the daughter of
Arthur Désilets and Alice Duval.
“Motherless at the age of 5, I was a boarder at Waterloo with my younger sister, and my older sister who took my mother’s place. I believe that it was there that I got my religious vocation because of the great kindness of the Sisters at the Maplewood Convent. We moved to Nicolet and I studied there, but since I had never forgotten the SNJM’s I entered that community in January, 1938.”
Claire had worked as a secretary for three years before entering the novitiate at the age of 21. After profession, Sister Alice-Thérèse taught piano and choral music. Her talent as an educator and teacher was put to use in 12 of our boarding schools for over 25 years and continued at École Vincent-d’Indy where she was in charge of pupils and was registrar for the next 16 years.
At 65, “retired from teaching, I worked in community services, as a volunteer for the blind and with women prisoners”. For fifteen years, Sister Claire shared her time and her love of music at ‘Maison Tanguay’, as a regular member of ARCAD (Association de Rencontres culturelles avec les Détenus). She also spent time transcribing into Braille.
At the community level, she accompanied our sick Sisters and spent many nights at the bedside of those who were dying… At 91, she was still praying for our dying Sisters.
Having become blind and hospitalized in our infirmary at Maison Jésus-Marie, Sister Claire maintained her clear-sightedness, cheerfully, gratefully and prayerfully. “She spent long moments in the little chapel or close to the statue of the Blessed Virgin, with her rosary in hand.” She ended her ‘pilgrimage’, present to her Sisters and present to Jesus and Mary.