Sister Germaine Marchand

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, 
if you have love for one another.” (John 13, 35)

April 23, 2016, Sister Germaine Marchand, 
in religion Marie-Fernand-Adrien 
went home to God. 

She was 94 years old and had been professed for 75 years. 
Born in Saint-Roch de l’Achigan, Quebec, 
she was the 2nd  of the 14 children 
of Adrien Marchand and Marie-Jeanne Barbier. 

Born into a farming family in which the children quickly arrived one after another, Germaine learned at a very young age how to help with the housework. When she was 16 years old, she entered the Novitiate of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary whom she had come to know when, for 7 years, she attended the convent in her village of St-Roch de l’Achigan and had also helped out at the convent in Hochelaga, for the last two years.

As a novice on mission, Sister Fernand-Adrien was assigned as cook in the convent in Longueuil. For the next few years, she was refectorian at the Motherhouse, cook at the convent in Viauville and nurse’s’aid at the Motherhouse. Sister Fernand certainly used her skills. Her religious life in service to the students and her Sisters was lived out as a refectorian for more than twenty years, mainly at the Viauville, Marie-Rose and Mont-Royal Boarding Schools. Her smile, her joy, her exhilaration, and her small kindnesses won the affection of the students.

A woman, who was a young student 65 years ago and had known Sister Fernand, wanted to be present at the funeral; she commented: “I will never forget her!” 

Another said: “We liked Sister Fernand and saw her in the refectory where she took good care of us. I remember that she would make crowns to reward the little ones and she would decorate the flower pots to add warmth to the room.”

Following her studies as an auxiliary nurse, she provided care in our infirmary at the Motherhouse. Sister Fernand was rather quiet, a bit of a tease and was available to help both day and night. The Sisters who were ill, appreciated her. She knew how to cheer them up and could anticipate their needs.

“When I was convalescing in the infirmary, Sister Fernand-Adrien who liked to play tricks had, without my knowledge, increased my portion of food from one meal to the next. Not wanting to leave anything, I made an effort to empty my plate, until the day when I was no longer able to do it. Regretfully I told her I had had too much: it was then, as she burst out laughing, that I understood what she had done!”

When she was about 80 years old Sister Germaine, whose strength was declining, spent a year at Chalet Jésus-Marie in Saint-Sauveur. Soon after, she was admitted into the infirmary at the Motherhouse. It was now her turn to receive care.  Twelve years elapsed and for most of this time she was bedridden. The Holy Name of Jesus was the haven in which she sought strength to be patient and was reminded of the love she had received and she had given by making those around her happy.