Sister Jeanne-d’Arc Turenne

“What shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me?” Ps 116, 12

November 25, 2013, Sister Jeanne d’Arc Turenne,
in religion Jacques-Marie
went home to God. 

She was 92 years old and had been professed for 68 years.

Born in St-Paul-l’Ermite, Quebec, she was the 3rd of 6 children, two of whom were girls who died at a early age, of Henri Turenne and Dorina Chartrand.

On the day of her Baptism, on a certain February 2nd, Jeanne-d’Arc weighed only a pound and a half: a fragile baby but one whose vitality would be proven! “As she grew she was encouraged by her family to discover new things.” She attended the parochial school run by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, and continued her studies in our boarding school at the SNJM Convent in l’Épiphanie where she obtained a teaching diploma.

Hired as a teller at the bank, she worked for two years before putting the dream of dedicating her life to God in teaching, into action. Jeanne-d’Arc was 21 years old when she entered the SNJM Novitiate. Six years later, at the time of her perpetual vows, the Bank of Montreal, in remembering the excellent work of their young employee, sent her a substantial monetary gift.

Having taught for a few years at the elementary level, Sister Jacques-Marie moved to  the secondary level in the various SNJM boarding schools and in schools in Montreal, all the while continuing her university studies.

Her teaching career, which spanned nearly 30 years, ended in Florida where she taught French at Holy Names Academy.“Sister Jeanne-d’Arc transmitted to her students a taste for learning by showing them the beauty of work well done. She carried out her task with zeal and competence.” Leaving Florida, Sister Jeanne-d’Arc moved to California where she served as assistant treasurer for three years.

Upon returning to Quebec, she experienced a radical change. Initially working as secretary for a variety of diocesan organizations and as a warden at Paroisse St-Louis-de-France, she then became assistant to the team of priests, visited the elderly, helped families, and for 12 years was also a copyist for the Montreal Ecclesiastical Court.

Jeanne-d’Arc worked as a pastoral care worker with the sick at Hôpital Notre-Dame before assuming responsibility for pastoral care at Maison des greffés du Québec (a halfway house): all were responsibilities in which her discretion was guaranteed.Of this last apostolate, Sister Jeanne-d’Arc said: “It was pure joy to bring God to people who were full of hope and who expected everything from Him. Their desire to get a second chance at life was their reason for giving thanks to their Creator again each morning.”

Sister Jeanne-d’Arc spent the last four years of her life at Maison Jésus-Marie receiving the care necessitated by her declining health. Her hope in God became her thanksgiving.