Sister Lucie Desruisseaux
“It is I; do not be afraid.” (John 6: 20)
On April 19, 2021, Sister Lucie Desruisseaux,
in religion M.-Denis-des-Anges,
went home to God.
She was 98 years old, with 77 years of religious profession.
Born in East-Angus, Québec, she was the 9th of the 11 children
born to Denis Desruisseaux and Alphonsine Morin.
Baptized on the very day of her birth, November 14, 1922, Lucie’s godparents were her 10-year-old brother and her 8-year-old sister. She grew up in a well-organized family in which everyone learned to be responsible at a very young age. Lucie noted that her parents were not domineering. Her father, a man of good judgment, worked in construction, repairing and fashioning furniture and tools. Her mother, who was a prayerful educator and caregiver, inspired respect. Lucie attended the village school and Maplewood Convent in Waterloo, both of which were under the direction of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. Her favourite subject was Mathematics. She loved winter sports, such as skating and skiing, and summer sports, such as bicycling, croquet, and baseball. At the age of 18, Lucie entered the novitiate of the SNJM Sisters whom she knew well.
When she received the religious habit, she was given her father’s name, Denis. Now known as Sister Denis-des-Anges, Lucie studied for her Bachelor of Education degree at the same time as she taught. Eventually she taught at every level of elementary and high school, from grade 1 to grade 11. The youth of the Eastern Townships benefited most from her expertise since she ministered mainly in Disraeli, Waterloo, La Patrie, Garthby and East-Angus. There Sr. Lucie also animated the Eucharistic Crusade and the YCS (Young Catholic Students). After 27 years of distinguished teaching and with the approval of the Congregation, she answered a call to assume the post of principal and founder of a new private lay school run by the Association coopérative Plein Soleil in Sherbrooke. For 14 years, Sr. Lucie, working in close collaboration with parents and teachers, instilled in the students the values of respect for others, personal responsibility, autonomy, collaboration, and a love of learning, all within an open classroom setting. For her “the full development of a child was more important than book knowledge.”
While devoting herself wholeheartedly to her ministry as a principal, Sr. Lucie was also very much involved in community life. In 1987, she was sent to Portland Residence as local superior. At the end of that mandate, she served in the finance department at the Motherhouse where she was also quickly named animator of the Rose-Eulalie Group. She confided that “the work and the Sisters with whom she worked in the finance department at the Motherhouse” were among her happiest memories. In 2003, she was missioned to Sainte-Martine Residence where she devoted herself to community services. Then, for health reasons in November of 2009, she joined many of her companions at Maison Jésus-Marie.
In her declining years, “Sister Lucie was remembered as a welcoming woman, open to differences and attentive to others, offering them her smile and her kind words.” She died peacefully, confident in God’s love for her.