Sister Hélène Perron
“With songs of joy, I will sing the praises of the Lord.”
October 31, 2014, Sister Hélène Perron
in religion Sister Marie-Pierre-Paul
went home to God.
She was 83 years old and had been professed for 63 years.
Born in St-Timothée (Beauharnois) in Quebec,
on March 29, 1931, she was the fifth of the ten children
of Aimé Perron and Georgiana Primeau.
Born into a “very simple” family that loved to work, play and pray together, Hélène attended the village school run by the SNJM Sisters. Her brother Pierre-Paul, two years older than she was, contracted polio when he was eleven years old and was in a wheel chair for eight years. Hélène had to interrupt her schooling in the sixth grade to help her mother and to take care of her brother.
From the time she was eleven years old, Hélène cherished the desire to become a Sister. She was sixteen years old when her brother died. The following year, she told her parents about her desire. Her father told her that he could not pay the cost of the novitiate so Hélène found a job at the cotton mill in Valleyfield, where she worked for two years.
On January 24, 1949, she entered the novitiate at the SNJM Motherhouse in Outremont. For thirty-three years, she was a cook in many of the SNJM convents in Quebec and Ontario, and for three of those years she was in Chicago and Windsor. “Your work as a cook is wonderful, her father said to her; you are upholding life.”
In 1972, Sister Hélène expressed her desire to try the contemplative life at the novitiate of the “Recluses Missionaries” in Montreal. She stayed there for a year and a half, but when the time came to sign her transfer, she was “unable to leave Mother Marie-Rose”, So she happily returned to the SNJM’s. For seven years, she resumed her job of cooking. She would be invaluable during the construction of the infirmary in Valleyfield. In her own way, she helped those who remained there: good food and little treats for “snack time” which were always served joyfully and enthusiastically.
In 1980, a new mission awaited her: she was in charge of maintenance at both the St-Nom-de-Marie Convent and at the Motherhouse. In 1989, new paths were opening for her: animator of small groups of Sisters at the Motherhouse, ministering to the sick, and a sojourn in the infirmary.
Sister Hélène loved singing! Even as a child, with a baguette in her hand, she directed a small choir of neighborhood children who had gathered in her yard. In community, she sang in the Motherhouse choir, as well as in parish choirs where her rich and powerful voice was often needed for solos.
Throughout these many years of service, she exuded serenity and a zest for life. She was born to give and to serve. In 2007, Sister Hélène was welcomed at Maison Jésus-Marie where she dedicated herself to a ministry of prayer.
“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you.”
It was in this way on this thirty-first day of October, 2014, that Jesus and Mary welcomed her amid songs of joy.