Sister Marguerite Fortier
“Come, you are precious in my sight, and honoured, and I love you.” (Is.43:4)
December 24, 2016, Sister Marguerite Fortier,
in religion Marie Louise-Florence,
went home to God.
She was 96 years old and had been professed for 75 years.
Born in St-Timothée, Quebec, she was the 13th of 16 children
of Omer Fortier and Marie-Louise Julien.
Marguerite’s parents lost nine of their children at an early age. Marguerite grew up happily on her father’s farm. Every evening after supper, the family knelt down for prayer, and on Sunday the horse-drawn carriage, holding as many people as it possibly could hold, set out for Mass. Those who had to be left behind at home, prayed together at the time of the Sanctus which was heralded by the ringing of the church bells.
Marguerite first attended the local school and then a Model Secondary School in St-Stanislas-de-Kostka, because her success had allowed her to be admitted there. When she was 15 years old, she went to the École Normale de Valleyfield. After two years, having received a graduate diploma, she worked for an English lady teaching French to her daughters, and benefitted from this opportunity to learn English.
From the time of her First Communion, Marguerite wanted to become a religious. When she was 19 years old, her dream was realized when she entered the novitiate of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.
Sister Louise-Florence was gifted for teaching and for connecting with young people. For 40 years, she taught at both elementary and secondary levels in several schools, and then at the boarding schools Pensionnats Marie-Rose and Mont-Royal, where she displayed enthusiasm, good humor, and competence with young people, cheerfully adding singing, cinema and Jeunesse Étudiante Catholique (Young Catholic Students) Meetings to her duties. Looking back at her career, Sister Marguerite said: “In front of my class, I felt as happy as a fish in water”.
In the middle of January 1981, Sister Marguerite was relieved of her duties in order to assume responsibility as Superior of the Maplewood Convent in Waterloo. To the delight of her Sisters and those around her, she expanded her activities: accounting, receptionist, artisan, visits to the elderly and animation of Vie Montante (Ascending Life).
Her former Provincial Superior noted that “To this milieu, Sister Marguerite brought a sense of security. She was a faithful religious, with savoir-faire, easy conversation, a positive outlook on life, open to the needs of those around her, and able to make appropriate and dynamic initiatives.” With Sister Marguerite, life was inspiring and happy.
Ten years later, Sister Marguerite went to the Valleyfield Convent: as local councilor and bursar, as well as fulfilling a variety of other duties as required. While at the Ste-Martine Residence, she was receptionist and provided other services, along with participating in the “Golden Age Group”. This would mark the end of Sister Marguerite’s active life.
When she was 88 years old, Sister Marguerite was welcomed into the Infirmary at Maison Jésus-Marie. She devoted herself to the ministry of prayer, maintaining her infectious joy, which she expressed in her clear and lilting voice. She was ready to respond to her spouse’s call.
Sister Marguerite lived a life of joy, taking as her motto: “For the greater glory of God and the salvation of the world”.