Sister Florence Bergeron
“When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name…” Lk 11:2
September 27, 2013, Sister Florence Bergeron,
in religion Marie-Jean-Marcel
went home to God.
She was 101 years old and had been professed for 82 years.
Born in St-Timothée d’Hérouville, Quebec, she was the 4th of 11 children of Arthur Bergeron and Marie-Anne Gauthier.
Florence grew up in a farming family. Her father, a fervent Christian, and a church warden was very innovative for his era: he saw to getting Sisters in the parish, to bettering farming techniques through the use of motorized machinery, chemical fertilizers, farming cooperatives…
Florence attended the local school for 6 years and then was a boarder at the boarding school in St-Stanislas for 2 years. As a pious family, “we observed the month of Mary at the crossroads located 1½ miles from our family home”.
She noted that at the age of 16 years old: “I always felt called to religious life and, above all, during my retreat at the end of high school, I knew that I had to respond immediately”. Florence entered the novitiate of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in July, on her 17th birthday.
She was not the only one of her family who dedicated her life in a religious community: two of her brothers became Brothers of Saint Gabriel, one of whom would become a missionary in Rwanda.
Sister Marie-Jean-Marcel taught for 42 years at the primary level in schools in Montreal. When she was 62, Sister Florence left teaching to help out at the Vincent D’Indy School of Music book store.
Three years later she moved to Résidence Ste-Émélie where, for the next 28 years, she provided a variety of services, especially as hairdresser and receptionist. She also wrote: “Skilled in sewing, I was able to be of help to my companions”.
This serene, smiling woman, who was always well-dressed and carefully coiffed, loved to read historical facts and biographies; she added: “mutually supporting her sisters, walking, visiting the stores during the holiday season to admire the decorations” and what she found to be most difficult: “Living with companions who had ‘difficult personalities!”
When, because of age, and requiring special care, Sister Florence moved to Maison Jésus-Marie where, 6 years later, she celebrated her 100th birthday!
Her final years lived in the infirmary provided Sister Florence with time to deepen the trust which she had lived throughout her 90 years: “What grace God has given me by prolonging my life so that I am able to discover to what point God is ‘My Father’, who loves me and wants me with Him”.
The Eternal Father came to fulfill His beloved daughter’s long-time desire for His presence.