Sister Juliette Marquis
“Lord, set one more place at your table; you are going to have another guest today”.
August 1, 2014, Sister Juliette Marquis,
in religion Luc-de-Marie
went home to God.
She was 105 years old and had been professed for 85 years.
Born in Isle-Verte (Rivière-du-Loup) in Quebec on November 2, 1908,
and baptised the next day in St-Jean-Baptiste Church in Isle Verte, she was the second of the fourteen children of
Luc Marquis and Emilia Lévesque.
Born of “profoundly Christian parents”, Juliette happily grew up in her native village where she attended school until the sixth grade. When she was twelve years old, being the oldest daughter, she had to leave school to help her mother at the time of the birth of Jeanne d’Arc, the eleventh child in the family: three others would follow. Juliette was happy to do it; she was “in perfect health, and loved manual work and reading”.
Each week, the Marquis family received the weekly edition of the Montreal newspaper, “La Presse”. In 1925, there was an advertisement: “Teaching community”, a large photo of Mother Marie-Rose and a sub-title: “Open House”, SNJM Motherhouse, in Outremont, Montreal”. It was in this way that Juliette encountered Mother Marie-Rose for the first time and her desire to become a Sister was born. She took the page and put it up in her room. She was sixteen years old and lived three hundred miles from Montreal.
She spoke to Mother Marie-Rose and entrusted her secret to her: “that I would like to become a Sister like her. I asked her to arrange everything for me”. After a great deal of hesitation, she spoke to her parents about it. The initial objection: “You have no education and you want to become a Sister in a teaching community? What are you going to do there?” Her answer was spontaneous: “In a large house, there will certainly be some work that I can do.
On July 22, 1927, Juliette entered the SNJM Novitiate in Outremont. The first months of postulate and novitiate were a little difficult: boredom and adapting to a new life. Thanks to Mother Marie-Rose, whom she frequently visited, Juliette persevered in her choice and on August twenty-sixth 1929, she made her temporary vows for three years. Mother Marie-Odilon, the Superior General at that time, assigned her to the missions in Manitoba, the departure planned for the twenty-eighth of August!
There certainly was work to do! She was in charge of cooking in our large houses for forty-five years, of which twenty-five were in Manitoba. Following that, she was a seamstress for 17 years, and then became involved in a variety of community services especially with our sick Sisters at the Motherhouse. When she was ninety seven years old, she was welcomed into Pavillon Saint-André in Maison Jésus-Marie, in Longueuil, where she dedicated herself to the ministry of prayer.
Sister Juliette’s life can be summarized in the following way: a sense of responsibility, tenacity, love of her work and a concern for others, humour and above all, a great spirit of faith. “The Lord always came to my rescue” she wrote, “I say to him: When I have done all that I can do, it’s up to you to do the rest”. It was in this way, after a long life given totally to God and to others, that the Lord welcomed her, with great joy, to his table in his great home.
Three of Sister Juliette’s sisters also became entered religious life: Cécile (Sister Marie-de-Jésus, S.S.R.) deceased; Marie-Thérèse, ( Sister Marie -Laurent-du-Sauveur, SNJM) deceased. Our sincere condolences go to Sister Jeanne-d’Arc (Sister Marie-Cécile-Emilia, SNJM) who lives at Maison Jésus-Marie.