Sister Gabrielle Hallé
“No eye has seen what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Cor. 2, 9
January 14, 2013, Sister Gabrielle Hallé,
in religion Marcellin-Marie,
went home to God.
She was 94 years old and had been professed for 65 years.
Born in Valleyfield, Quebec,
she was the 13th of 16 children of Marcellin Hallé and Lydia Hainault.
When she was three years old, Gabrielle was hospitalized at Institut Nazareth de Montreal: measles had damaged her eyes. The diagnosis: the child would never see clearly. Upon returning home, she grew up suffering from the light which blinded her.
At school, she was interested, studious and popular. Far from complaining, she developed an attitude of gratefulness: “They were years filled with kindness and attentiveness from the students and the teachers. Such great acts of kindness throughout the years of my primary schooling”.
She spent two years at the “École Normale” with the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary: it was arduous work but Gabrielle remembered the help she received from her companions and her teachers. Upon her mother’s request, she gave up her studies and lived at home. “It was here that the Good Lord was waiting for me”, she noted: for several years, I attended the J.O.C. (Jeunesse ouvrière catholique), until I entered the Community. However, for many years, I believed that becoming a Sister, following the example of my sisters Blanche and Marguerite, was not for me. But when I was 26 years old, I received the necessary health certificate» to enter the SNJM novitiate.
For 35 years, Sister Marcellin-Marie taught wholeheartedly, despite her impaired vision, children from grades 2 to 6 at the primary level. “I love my students, I understand them and, because I have had difficulties, I try to make things easier for them.”
Schools in Charlemagne, L’Épiphanie, Verchères, Contrecoeur and Beauharnois, would benefit from her dedication and expertise. When she retired from teaching, the parents from École Jésus-Marie in Beauharnois stated: “Sister Gabrielle was a great support to her profession, which she always exercised with such love, caring and consistency for the children. We wish to express to her our deep gratitude and admiration.”
When she was 63, Sister Gabrielle “retired” to devote herself to serving the community, in Valleyfield and at the Motherhouse. “No one who tried to follow her could do so without getting out of breath…” “She was a fervent Sister who gave her all with generosity and cheerfulness. Struggling with cancer, she fought with all her strength, never changing gears as she sailed through her work.” “Gabrielle was a nervous person who took refuge in prayer. She came to love Charles de Foucauld’s ‘Prayer of Abandonment’.”
Sister Gabrielle spent the last eleven years of her life in the infirmary: as she put it, she allowed God to “steer the ship”. With an ever-increasing difficulty in seeing, she looked at things with the eyes of the soul, preparing herself to meet the Grand Helmsman.