Sister Jeanne Côté
“Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit…”. (Jn. 15, 5)
September 26, 2014, 2012, Sister Jeanne Côté,
in religion Sister Marie-Thérèse-du-Carmel
went home to God.
She was 98 years old and had been professed for 74 years.
Born in Saint-Julien-de-Wolfestown (Wolfe) in Quebec,
on January 22, 1916,
she was the tenth of the thirteen children of Eugène Côté and Emma Gouin.
Born in Saint-Julien, into a deeply Christian family, Jeanne was only four years old when the whole family moved to Coleraine where she “spent a very happy childhood”. She attended the village school run by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Louis until the fifth Grade. When she was ten years old, during a three-day retreat in preparation for Solemn Communion, she asked the Lord to tell her what she would do later in life. “The answer became clear to her within the depths of her heart when she received Communion: ‘You will be a Sister’. It remained her secret until she was twenty years old.”
In 1930, when Jeanne was fourteen years old, her mother and father died accidentally. An aunt, who was a teacher, welcomed her into her home in Sutton where she developed a taste for teaching. This aunt encouraged her to continue her studies at the Pensionnat de Disraeli (boarding school) run by the SNJM Sisters.
After having obtained her eighth grade elementary diploma from the ‘Bureau Central’, in order to « ascertain her teaching skills, she requested “‘a poor rural school with seven grade levels». She taught there for three years. “Content with her success along with the appreciation from the school commission, she followed her dream and ‘without any hesitation’, chose to enter the SNJM Congregation.”
On January 12, 1938, she entered the novitiate in Outremont. “Adapting to a life of submission with its rules was not easy, as Sister Jeanne wrote, but her love for God made the adaptation possible”. Becoming a teacher in 1940, she taught in several schools and boarding schools in Quebec, while continuing her studies, which led to several diplomas, including a ‘Brevet A’ in 1968.
Sister Jeanne dedicated forty one years of her life to education, thirty-one of which were spent teaching. The following tribute was paid to her when she left École Marie-Rose de Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts after having served there for nine years: “Sister Jeanne succeeded in making her school a haven of peace, a culture of love and of joy in her work”.
Being very active, in addition to her many responsibilities, she assumed services at the parish and community levels all while paying special attention to those who were most disadvantaged. Assigned to the convent in East Angus in 1978, she remained there for nineteen years, and for twelve of those years she assumed responsibilities as the superior. “In her own way, she fostered and encouraged a climate which promoted a pleasant community life.” The time came to retire, but Sister Jeanne continued to serve at Chalet Jésus-Marie in Mont Saint Sauveur, and then at Résidence Ste-Émélie.
In 2012, she was welcomed into Maison Jésus-Marie, where she dedicated herself to a ministry of prayer until September 26, 2014 when the Lord received her in her final mission.
Our sympathies are with her niece, Sister Pauline Côté, S.N.J.M.