Sister Jeanne-d’Arc Gosselin

“It is you who saves us, Lord, God of truth” (Psalm 30, 6)

March 9, 2017, Sister Jeanne d’Arc Gosselin, 
in religion Marie-Exilia 
went home to God. 

She was 95 years old and had been professed for 74 years. 

Born in St-Jacques de Stenson, Quebec, 
she was the tenth of the 12 children 
of Georges Gosselin and Exilia Dubois. 

Jeanne-d’Arc was only a year old when her father, a carpenter, decided to settle the family in Disraéli. There, she studied with the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, at École Ste-Lucie and the boarding school. At home, she learned to pray and to do her share of work. Having been influenced by the example of her teachers, she wanted to become a Sister and so when she was 18 years old, having obtained a teaching diploma, she entered the SNJMs.

During the novitiate, Sister Marie-Exilia had to overcome some difficulties. Her successive appointments brought her back to the Eastern Townships, a region with which she was familiar. Teaching the first and second grades, for close to 34 years, she demonstrated her affection and talent in Scotstown, La Patrie, Chartierville, Disraéli, Waterloo and Sherbrooke.  “Working with the youngest children, Sister Jeanne-d’Arc endeavoured to progressively develop their minds and hearts.”

A year of rest brought a change of direction. At the convents of Disraéli, Beloeil, Mont-St-Hilaire, and Ste-Martine she was a refectorian, oversaw the laundry room, and was a receptionist. “She responded with generosity to the requests that were made to her” She also helped out with crafts and pastoral work. When she was 77 years old, Sister Jeanne-d’Arc moved to the Albani Residence in Montreal. While there, she volunteered at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital for 13 years, and accumulated 1646.50 hours of dedicated service. “She knew how to listen attentively and lovingly to the people whom she visited.”

Five years ago, when Sister Jeanne-d’Arc was welcomed at Maison Jésus-Marie for the last stage of her journey, she was given the ministry of prayer. With gratitude, she discovered she had more time for contemplation and prayer, which she had always treasured.  “Her presence to others enriched the quality of living together.” 

Some of her companions spoke about her. “Simplicity, uprightness and ease of living, despite her poor health, made Sister Jeanne-d’Arc a pleasant, agreeable companion, who loved to laugh and who personally was a support to community life.” “A woman of prayer and contemplation, she was ready to respond to the call of the God who had nourished her life.”