Sister Jacqueline Bérard
“I have called you by name, you are mine.” Isaiah 43, 1
July 15, 2014, Sister Jacqueline Bérard,
in religion Marie-Agnès-de-la-Croix
went home to God.
She was 83 years old and had been professed for 64 years.
Born in L’Ange-Gardien- de-Rouville, (Rouville), Quebec,
she was the youngest of the eight children
of Wilfrid Bérard and Anne Dufresne.
“From a rural family that was deeply Christian”, Jacqueline began her studies at the local school in l’Ange-Gardien where she completed seventh grade. At the end of the school year, in June 1942, her mother died. Jacqueline was eleven years old.
In September, she continued her studies as an eighth grade boarder at the Verchères Convent where her aunt, her mother’s sister, Sister Joseph-de-David, became her teacher. It was there that she became better acquainted with the SNJM Sisters. The following year, 1947, as a boarder at Pensionnat Mont-Royal, she completed her fourth year of high school in arts and science.
The following July 24th, when she was sixteen years old, Jacqueline entered the SNJM Novitiate in Outremont. She wrote: “The example of my teachers and the spiritual assistance of the Jesuits influenced my choice.” Going from the boarding school to the Novitiate was a smooth transition. It “was but one step”. She also found that the time spent in the novitiate seemed short.
In February 1949, Sister Jacqueline was appointed to teach a grade two class at Hochelaga Convent and Boarding School. There she acquired a taste for teaching these young people who were so eager to learn. In 1954, health problems forced her to spend a period of time on the seventh floor of the infirmary at the Motherhouse.
Following this this year off, she returned to teaching students at the primary levels for the next thirty-three years, twenty five of which were at École St-Germain in Outremont. While teaching, she continued her studies in education for both the primary and secondary levels, which would allow for her to teach in the public sector.
Upon her retirement, she worked in the library services in the students’ library at Mont Jésus-Marie which made it possible for her to stay in touch with young people and to share her love of reading with them. She also spent many hours volunteering in the library at the Motherhouse and circulating books to the sick Sisters in the infirmary.
In 2012, Sister Jacqueline was admitted into Maison Jésus-Marie where she carried out a ministry of prayer, while continuing to be available to her sisters, until the Lord’s final call came.
“Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,* you did it to me.” Matt. 25, 40
With Sister Jacqueline, let us say: “May the Lord be praised!”