Sister Germaine Gamache
“My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)
On the 25th day of January 2020, Sister Germaine Gamache,
in religion Marie-Lucille,
went home to God.
She was 93 years of age, with 71 years of religious profession.
Born in Saint-Joachim-de-la-Plaine, Québec, she was the 8th
of the 11 children of Abondius Gamache and of Émilia Courtemanche.
Germaine went to the local primary school up to grade 4. After the death of her mother, she went as a boarder to St-Lin Convent, then to Valleyfield Teachers’ College, two institutions directed by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.
Germaine grew in a context of faith: “At home and in the convent, I was always taught that the ‘better part’ was to consecrate oneself to the Lord.” She was ten years of age when her oldest sister, Lucille, left to enter the congregation of the Sisters of the Precious Blood, in Joliette. About this departure, she remembered… “the memorable sacrifice of my father: my parents’ spirit of faith in face of every difficulty”. With her teacher’s diploma, at the age of 20, she entered the novitiate of the Holy Names Sisters, just as four of her older sisters had done before her. The time of formation seemed less difficult for her than her years at Teachers’ College.
Being well-prepared, Sister Germaine enjoyed teaching. For 38 years, she devoted herself to her pupils at the primary and secondary levels, in both the private and public sectors. Competent, devoted and dynamic, she brought happiness to her young students who greatly appreciated her. Besides teaching, Germaine took on various other responsibilities as needed: directrice, superior, delegate to the Office of Religious, animator for summer camp counsellors.
At sixty-three, was she ready to retire? Not at all! Sister Germaine helped out in the Collège Durocher library and was in charge of the department that made costumes for plays. “So many hours of availability, kindness and creativity spent making, cleaning and lending out costumes to meet the many demands!” At Saint-Jude Parish in Longueuil, she participated in the choir and was a member of the Missionary and Living Word Committees, as well as of the Focolari group. She also visited and helped the sick members of her family and worked as a secretary for the Sacred Art Committee in the diocese of Saint Jean-Longueuil.
In 2010, Tiffin Residence, where she had been living for the previous 25 years, closed. Sister Germaine came to help out on the 2nd floor of the infirmary at Maison Jésus-Marie. She shared the community life of the Saint-André community and assumed various services, as needed. She used her leisure time to knit for the disadvantaged. Sharing about her relationship with the Lord, she wrote: “His love is tangible; He gives me the joy of living for Him and the desire to know Him more fully year after year. Magnificat!”
During her last years, after being welcomed into the infirmary, Sister Germaine remained the loving, peaceful and attentive woman she had always been, full of gratitude to God and towards those around her. Gradually, like a gently-fading candle, her life on earth opened up to the new life she anticipated: “When I see Him, in great silence, I will be transfixed in adoration before my God.” Her desire is now fulfilled.