Sister Pauline Payant
“Hail Mary, full of grace.” (Luke 1:28)
On October 16, 2022, Sister Pauline Payant,
in religion M.-Jeanne-de-Jésus,
went home to God.
She was 92 years old,
with 69 years of religious profession.
Born in St-Jean-Chrysostome, Quebec, she was the 4th of the eight children
of Armand Payant and Bella Décosse.
Pauline grew up on her parents’ farm and attended the village convent, directed by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM). She noted that, even as a young child, she felt attracted to religious life “thanks to a united and prayerful family.” She pursued her studies at Valleyfield Teachers’ College and then taught for three years in a little one-room country school, teaching all seven grades, tending the wood stove, and preparing the 7th graders for their diplomas. Then, at the age of 21, she entered the SNJM novitiate. Her maternal aunt, Sister Jocelyn Décosse, and her blood sister Mercédès were already members of the SNJM community.
With her many talents inherited from her mother and developed within the family home, as well as her teaching experience, Sister Jeanne-de-Jésus was nominated to Saint-Hilaire to teach the younger students. After teaching in different schools year after year, Pauline arrived at Contrecoeur where she served devotedly for seven years. She was especially successful teaching mathematics in Ville Lemoyne, then at Gérard-Filion High School.
When she retired from a happy and fruitful 34 years of teaching, Sr. Pauline studied accounting for a year. She then served for 19 years as the local treasurer at Saint André Residence, where she was also in charge of maintenance. At the turn of the millennium, the construction at Maison Jésus-Marie forced the Sisters to relocate. Sister Pauline went to Salaberry Residence, then to Edouard-Monpetit where she continued to serve as accountant. Calm, discreet, and clear-sighted, she was efficient in her work and appreciated by the Sisters.
In 2013, with her health diminishing, Sister Pauline arrived at the Longueuil infirmary. Commenting on her last years, she wrote: “A lot of praying, reading and rest”. She devoured biographies, history books and spiritual writings. In reviewing her life, Pauline pointed out the special grace of a retreat at Cap-de-la-Madeleine and added: “I loved teaching as well as everything else I did. I was happy. My life was inspired by my parents, my teachers, my friends from school and work; and here, by the volunteers and staff who are at our service, Father Fontaine’s homilies, and all the kindnesses rendered by my religious companions.” Filled with gratitude, Sister Pauline entrusted her life to God.