Sister Laurentia St-André
“You never abandon those who seek you” (Psalm 9:10)
On September 7, 2023, Sister Laurentia St-André,
formerly known as Sister M. Luc-André,
went home to God
She was 95 years old, with 63 years as a vowed religious.
Born in Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan, Québec,
she was the 5th of the 7 children
of Gaspard St-André and Germaine Lesage.
Laurentia grew up on the family farm with three sisters and three brothers. Her parents were very fervent Christians and education was a priority for them. Every morning and evening, the family prayed together. Laurentia attended the local school, then the village convent run by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, followed by the Teachers’ College in Joliette under the direction of the Congregation of Notre-Dame.
As she matured, so did her vocation to religious life, particularly through the Gospels she had learnt through her elementary school teachers who required their students to memorize a passage every week. “I discovered that God speaks to us in a special way through His Word. It took time for me to understand God’s call! It wasn’t easy to leave my family, my friends, and my freedom, so I chose to teach for twelve years as a lay teacher as I struggled with the choice of my vocation.” Laurentia was eighteen when her older sister, Marie-Ange, entered the SNJM Novitiate. Laurentia herself finally decided to enter when she was thirty.
At the ceremony of reception of the Holy Habit, she was given the name Sister M. Luc-André. One of her companions testified, “I knew her at that time. She was energetic, jovial and laughed easily.” Missioned to teach at the elementary and high school levels, particularly mathematics and typing, for 35 years Laurentia gifted her students with her goodness and her experience. Several schools on the South Shore of the St. Lawrence River across from Montreal, including Curé-Lequin and Saint Lambert, benefitted from her devotion and her competence.
After retiring as a teacher at the age of 67, Sister Laurentia continued to live at Green Residence and volunteered in Saint Jude Parish. She was involved in community services, ministered to the elderly, and was part of the technical support team for those who worked in the provincial administration. Her hobbies were gardening (in her words, taking care of the plants) and reading. After moving to the Congregational House, she was available as a driver for the Sisters. At 89, she was welcomed into the St. Charles Pavilion infirmary. She was well enough to help her sister, Sr. Marie-Ange, six years her senior. She accompanied Marie-Ange in her last moments, a very difficult experience of detachment. Despite her own illness, Sister Laurentia was always pleasant company for others. She gradually suffered decreased physical and mental capabilities, but increased openness to the coming of “the One who had chosen her”. (John 15:16).