Sister Gilberte Paré-Pépin
“I was full of joy when I set out for the house of the Lord!” ( Psalm 121)
May 18, 2015, Sister Gilberte Paré-Pépin,
in religion Sister Marie-Médiatrice,
went home to God.
She was 85 years old and had been professed for 63 years.
Born in Saint-Sébastien, Quebec, she was the daughter of
Alphonse Paré and Marie-Ange Fortin.
Adopted at the age of 3 months, she was raised with the 10 children of Polycarpe Pépin and Éva Paré.
Ten days after she was born, Gilberte was orphaned when her mother died. She was adopted by her father’s sister whom she called “Maman Eva”. In her new home in East Angus, she was the youngest of 9 children, the oldest of whom was 18; a younger sister was born when she was 2 years old.
Gilberte noted: “I was surrounded by warm affection from my brothers and sisters from the Pépin family.” The bonds with the Paré family (her father) were encouraged and maintained through correspondence. “They are your brothers and sisters; you must love them as much as those in the family where you are living”, her adoptive mother said to her.
Her family milieu, profoundly Christian, and the convent of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, where she studied, were conducive to her religious vocation.
She was 19 years old when she entered the SNJM Novitiate. Sister Marie-Médiatrice initially taught for over 20 years in the Eastern Townships: Cookshire, Scotstown, Garthby, East-Angus…. The first and second grade children benefitted from her zeal.
Having a great devotion to the Eucharist helped her in preparing children for receiving their First Communion. At Mont-Jésus-Marie in Outremont, Sister Gilberte continued giving of herself for another 20 years with the second grade students. She was fulfilled by her work into which she put her whole heart: class preparation, adaptation of educational materials, and being with the children. Leaving teaching left her quite distraught.
Following a year of personal renewal, Sister Gilberte could be found visiting the sick Sisters in the infirmary, as well as providing other services at the Motherhouse up until it closed. She and several other Sisters, then went to live with the Sisters of Providence in Boucherville where she remained for two years. Retirement was a challenging time for her.
When she was 77 years old, she was welcomed into Maison Jésus-Marie, in Longueuil.
“As the days went by, Sister Gilberte had the unusual way of expressing her dismay by shedding copious tears.” Spontaneously, we would say: “Poor Sister Gilberte!”
Her desire for endless Joy and for the eternal Presence
remained Sister Gilberte’s deepest desire.
May she now be fulfilled!