Sister Marie-Ange St-André
“Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” (Mt. 25 6)
On April 11, 2019, Sister Marie-Ange St-André,
in religion Marie-Marc-André,
went home to God.
She was 97 years of age and had been professed for 70 years.
Born in St-Roch-de-l’Achigan, Quebec, she was the eldest of the 7 children of Gaspard St-André and Germaine Lesage.
Marie Ange’s father, a well-established farmer, was helped out by his very hard-working wife. It was at this school that Marie-Ange learned about faith and daily commitment. She attended the local school and then went to the Boarding School in her village which was under the direction of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. She helped her mother with household chores and was actively involved in caring for her brothers and sisters. Every evening the family knelt for prayer, the recitation of the rosary, a novena that was underway… Since the Way of the Cross was set up in front of their house, the family saw to its upkeep, and invited the neighborhood to come there to pray.
Having obtained the required diploma, Marie-Ange taught at a rural school that had numerous classes. She stated: “I knew that one day I would enter the SNJM’s. Mother Marie-Rose, the foundress of this community, was very present in our home.” Marie-Ange was 25 when she left home to enter the SNJM’s. Her sister Laurentia wrote: “We lost a top-notch cook, a seamstress, a knitter… in a word, needlework was no stranger to her. If one sat down to compose a letter, you were there. Your departure left a great void.”
Once her novitiate ended, Sister Marc-André taught in various schools, at both the primary and secondary levels, as well as at the Normal School (teacher training school). She also assumed the role of principal in two primary schools: Saint-Jean-Eudes and Laflèche. She had spent thirty-eight years with young people when she was named provincial secretary, and then local superior at Collège Durocher. In 1990, she added secretary of the new ‘Fondation Eulalie-Durocher’ in Saint-Lambert, to her tasks. Her openness and her impeccable French were greatly appreciated. Aware of the needs of the milieu, she also committed herself to pastoral work and to the parish choir. In addition, she also served as community leader for the Sisters in the infirmary at the Motherhouse.
Sister Marie-Ange stated: “Because I have always held good positions, initially brought about by specialized and personal studies, I was happy to be working, and I think success came easily to me. A real lift for me was certainly when my sister, Laurentia, entered the convent. This generous gesture on her part was an encouragement both to me, and to my brother Marc, in his vocation to the Priesthood.”
In 2009, Sister Marie-Ange went to Maison Jésus-Marie where she provided a variety of services. Gradually, she was welcomed into the infirmary where she received the necessary care she needed and devoted her time to a ministry of prayer. She loved to repeat: “O Father, I am your child”.
When she was 97, she could see that the time for the great encounter was approaching and, in her final days could say: “I feel that I am dying”. Sister Marie-Ange was ready!