Sister Paulette Gamache
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you, O Lord.” Ps 19,14
October 13, 2010, Sister Paulette Gamache,
in religion M.-Émilia-du-Crucifix,
went home to God.
She was 94 years old and had been professed for 75 years.
Born in St-Calixte, Quebec, she was the 3rd of 11 children, 9 of whom were girls, of
Abondius Gamache and Émilia Courtemanche.
Paulette Gamache learned to assume responsibility and organize work when she was young. One of her younger sisters recalled: “Papa cultivated 7 acres of strawberries and, in season, 25 pickers came to work there. Where he was away, it was Paulette who replaced him to oversee the workers and to assure that everything was in order, without skipping a beat. Imagine, we had to make two deliveries a day!” That was before she was 17 years old!
Religious vocations flourished in the family. 5 Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, one Precious Blood Sister and one Oblate of Mary Immaculate. At the age of 17, Paulette decided to join her two older SNJM sisters.
Two years later, Sister Émilia-du-Crucifix began a 42-year career as an educator, in teaching, pastoral work and for a few years she was in charge of the students. At the same time, she continued her studies to obtain Diplomas in Teaching, a Licentiate in Hygienics, B. A. degree and Bachelor’s degree in Pedagogy.
“Sister Émilia, who was in charge of the large boarding schools, immersed us in an atmosphere of warmth and relaxation after the rigorous five hours of classroom work. How happy we were!” witnessed one of her former students.
She organized courses in yoga during the ‘70’s for the Sisters she lived with…Paulette had a way of obtaining permission for things.
At the age of 63, Sister Paulette was named to the Motherhouse and during the years which followed, she assumed the role of general coordination for 6 years, after which she spent a sabbatical year with our Sisters in Manitoba. Upon her return, she served as local superior in Ste-Martine and at our house on Goyer Street.
What trips she organized for her Sisters! It was said that she herself never missed one. Among these trips were the opening of l’île aux Puces, the home of “la Sagouine”, in Bouctouche, N.B., the Îles de la Madeleine, the Îles Mingan on Monsieur Roland Jomphe’s boat, western Canada to visit her sister who was a nun, … and her last trip: Jerusalem.
When she “retired” at 78 years old, continued to do community service, especially at the Motherhouse. She became ill at the age of 86. After more than 7 years in the infirmary, Paulette knew that her time was approaching. “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, help me in my final agony.”, we heard her repeating, murmuring even when she was semi conscious. Our Blessed Marie-Rose, whose life Sister Paulette modelled with love throughout the years, would now present this calm and serene daughter to the Lord.