Sister Claudia Deland
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
June 1, 2014, Sister Claudia Deland,
in religion Marie-Paule-Bernadette
went home to God.
She was 99 years old and had been professed for 79 years.
Born in Saint-Luc ( Saint-Jean), Quebec,
she was the oldest of the 4 children
of Pierre Deland and Bernadette L’Écuyer.
Claudia attended the local school in Saint-Luc up until the fourth grade. Following that, her parents enrolled her as a border at the SNJM Convent in St-Timothée, where she received her 8th grade diploma, in 1932.
That same year, on July 23, 1932, she entered the postulate in Outremont. Two events influenced her decision: Ever since she was 8 or 9 years old, Claudia had regularly corresponded with one of her aunts, her mother’s sister, Sister Marguerite-de-Louvain, S.N.J.M. This aunt, whom she dearly loved, seemed to her to be a woman who was very happy in her chosen life. Also, during the four years that she was a border in Saint-Timothée, she became better acquainted with our community.
Filled with enthusiasm and spontaneity, Claudia had difficulty adapting to the rhythm of the postulate: she was delayed twice before advancing to the Novitiate. It was a difficult situation for both her and her parents to accept, but as she herself wrote: “The event is a gift from the Lord, if we know how to interpret it with faith and trust.” She persevered, and her life was “happy and even very happy.”
Equipped with a Bachelor in Education and “Brevet A”, Sister Claudia taught from grades 2 to 11 for 37 years. It was a ministry which she really loved, and which she said was inherited from her family-from her maternal grandparents: “five girls, one of whom was her mother, were teachers”. When she reached the age of retirement, she enjoyed excellent health and continued to serve her community; she dedicated 17 years as a secretary at the provincial level.
In February 2011, she was welcomed into Maison Jésus-Marie where she carried out a ministry of prayer until she died. She wrote: “Before I die, I want to develop cheerfulness and a sense of humour within myself.”
Testimony from her companions tells us that she certainly accomplished this goal: she was described as a woman who was diplomatic, efficient and generous.
As promised the Lord gave her life,
and life in abundance.