Sister Lorraine Boulanger
“Play skilfully on the strings, with loud shouts!” (Ps 33,3)
May 14, 2015, Sister Lorraine Boulanger,
in religion Marie-Madeleine-Alma,
went home to God.
She was 89 years old and had been professed for 66 years.
Born in La Patrie, Quebec, she was the 10th of the 11 children
of Wellesse Boulanger and Rosanna Paquette.
Lorraine grew up in La Patrie in a family of “great” farmers in which religion and education were highly valued. She studied at the local school with the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. When she was 15, she went to the Normal School in Valleyfield as a boarder. When her courses were finished, she taught for 3 years, two of which were spent in her native village. Four of her sisters had already preceded her in entering religious life, two with the Daughters of Charity of the Sacred Heart and two with the SNJM’s. Lorraine was 21 when she, in her turn, entered the SNJM novitiate.
Gifted in music, Sister Madeleine-Alma taught piano in our boarding schools in Hochelaga, Ste-Émélie, Maskinongé, St-Hilaire and at École Vincent-d’Indy, for 27 years. After obtaining a Licentiate in Music from the Université de Montréal, Sister Lorraine perfected her musical training with a one-year observation internship in Europe.
Her 3 year term as Director General of École Vincent-d’Indy, which she undertook in 1981, was marked by the school’s move from Mount Royal, down the hill to 628 Côte Sainte-Catherine Road.
Sister Lorraine was convinced that formal musical training happens through related knowledge: the history and analysis of styles, musical creations in relation to the ages … She put together a curriculum in specialized studies adapted to the secondary level. For 15 years she was the Head and Coordinator for the classical music option at École Pierre-Laporte, which was linked to the program at École Vincent-d’Indy.
“Very close to her students, Sister Lorraine knew how to listen to them and understood them.” “Several of them distinguished themselves and became internationally renowned artists.” “A woman of courage, she never complained, even in difficult situations.”
When Sister Lorraine retired from teaching, she was 68 years old. Known for making herself available for service, she performed various functions: librarian, secretary, accompanying the sick, seamstress… She shared community life with Sisters in the residences of Boyer, St-François d’Assise and the Groupe de l’Aurore at the Motherhouse.
Living at Maison Jésus-Marie for the past four years, Sister Lorraine helped in the sewing room and continued to enjoy concerts. Even while in the infirmary, she yearned for these musical outings.
Music must be an integral part of her prayer now that she is with the Lord.