Sister Julienne Duval

“For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” (Hebrews 13:14)

January 1, 2016, Sister Julienne Duval, 
in religion Marie-Jeanne-Imelda
went home to God.

She was 99 years old and had been professed for 77 years.

Born in St-Roch-de-l’Achigan, Quebec,
she was the 5th of the 7 children 
of Joseph Duval and Imelda Villemaire.

Julienne grew up happily in a close-knit family that was devoutly Christian. After attending the local school, she went to the boarding school in her village, St-Roch, where she met the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. At École Normale de Joliette run by the C.N.D. Sisters, she was awarded an advanced diploma in teaching. At the age of 19, after two years of helping out at home, she decided to enter a religious community. She had aunts who were Sisters in the communities of the Sisters of Sainte-Anne and the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary as well as cousins in the Congrégation de Notre-Dame.

Her choice to enter the SNJM’s was influenced by the prayers of her aunt, Sister Marie-Macédone, who was a missionary in Oregon for 47 years. To the question: “Did you find the novitiate difficult”? Sister Julienne answered: “No. The rules at École Normale de Joliette with the C.N.D. Sisters were stricter.  I liked the École Normale de Joliette as much as I liked my novitiate.”

For 35 years, Sister Jeanne-Imelda taught at the elementary level in schools in Longueuil, Montréal and Valleyfield. When she ended her career in Ormstown, she received the following recognition: “I keep the example of one who was a master at knowing how to point her young people towards the future. You are the sap that nourishes, the sun which brings light and a friend whom we revere. You are leaving us with memories filled with vitality and friendship”.

After having frequently moved from convent to convent, Sister Julienne arrived at the Motherhouse where, to her great joy, she stayed for 32 years. Her main community service was as a switchboard operator: courteous, faithful in conveying messages, and approachable, she earned gratitude and admiration.

At the age of 89, she was welcomed into our infirmary at Maison Jésus-Marie in Longueuil. Although fully retired, Sister Julienne was not idle: Mass, rosary, and prayers gave rhythm to her life, yet she was never worn out! Every morning, she could be found diligently reading the La Presse, Le Devoir and the local newspapers. She took an interest in religious, political, social, scientific, and sports news… She continued to maintain family ties with her nephews and nieces. She left herself free, even detached, gratefully and warmly welcoming others, “serene and calm, attentive to each and everyone.  She would have celebrated her one hundredth birthday at the end of February!”

Sister Julienne harmoniously balanced openness to God, to others and to life.