Sister Monique Papineau
“On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-matured wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-matured wines strained clear.” (Is. 25)
March 11, 2015, Sister Monique Papineau,
in religion Marie-Ange-Marguerite, went home to God.
She was 81 years old and had been professed for 61 years.
Born in Épiphanie, Quebec,
she was the 11th of the 19 children
of Achille Papineau and Marguerite Paquette.
Monique was baptized the day she was born; her two older siblings, Augustin and Gertrude, aged 16 and 15 respectively, were her godparents. It was in the village of Épiphanie, beside a small stream, that she grew up and where she came to know the Sisters of the Holy Names. Monique liked to visit the convent kitchen where she helped Sister Rachel-Bernadette (Irène Martel). She admired this Sister who was attentive to the needs of people, close to God, and so skilled at cooking. Gradually, the desire for religious life was being shaped and growing within her.
When she was 18 years old, Monique entered the SNJM Novitiate. Upon receiving her habit, she was given the names of her mother and her two older sisters: Sister Marie-Ange-Marguerite. She made her profession when she was 20 years old, and began a 58-year career as a cook. During the first 20 years of her religious life, Sister Monique often changed missions: boarding schools and Sisters’ residences. While working as a cook, she continued her studies and received a diploma from the “Institut de Tourisme et d’Hôtellerie du Québec.”
“Convinced that her work was of great importance for overall development, she put all her energy and her talents into varying the menus and presenting appealing dishes. Sister Monique, recognized for her competence, was always on top of the situation. All these years were marked with kindness, a love permeated with true charity for the Sisters, the employees and the students.”
But it was especially at Résidence St-François-d’Assise, and in the parish with the same name, that Sister Monique made her mark. For 27 years, she was the cook and was also in charge of maintenance. Approachable and open to the needs of others, she established many good-neighbourly relationships, prepared homemade dishes for the parish food bank, taught mothers how to cook, minded their children … and in all simplicity, witnessed to the effectiveness of prayer.
“Monique had great devotion to Mother Marie-Rose (our blessed foundress), and gave many relics to those around her, family and neighbours, in order to spread a devotion which still remains.”
When her legs could no longer carry her, Sister Monique had to retire: it was time for her to go to the infirmary. Her sojourn there would be short. Now, she sees the God whom she had recognized in others.