Sister Rachel Leclerc

“Virgin Mary, blessed are you among all women and blessed is Jesus, your son.”


On March 18, 2024, Sister Rachel Leclerc,

in religion M.-Annette-Marcelle,

went home to God.


She was 100 years old, with 76 years as a professed sister.

Born in L’Islet, Québec, she was the 19th of the 20 children

of Nilius Leclerc and Marie Deschênes.

When Rachel came into the world, she already had fourteen brothers and four sisters. Their father had inherited a saw mill which he developed into a renowned loom factory. The family lived on the second and third floors in the front area of the factory, which was a mile and a half away from the village. After supper, they prayed evening prayer together. On Sundays they took turns pouring into the car to attend Mass. During the month-long preparation for their Solemn Communion, the children would walk to the church for their catechism lessons. Rachel received her elementary school education in her home since her father had hired a teacher for the family.

For high school, she and her younger sister were boarders at Maplewood Convent in Waterloo. After grade 9, Rachel boarded with an English family in Quebec for two years of study at a bilingual business college. She then worked in an office for three years. At 22 years of age, she joined her older sister, Adèle, who was already a Sister of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. (SNJM)

When she completed her novitiate, Sister Annette-Marcelle (the name she received at her “taking of the habit” ceremony) started a 22-year teaching career in 14 different elementary schools. Mobility certainly characterized this first stage of her religious life!

Two years of studies in accounting prepared her to work as treasurer for the Mont-Royal province and then for the General Council. Sister Rachel loved her work, but she especially loved the personal contact with sisters who needed a driver, a service she offered them with ease. After a sabbatical year at Cap-Rouge, Rachel returned to take charge of the printing press for the General Administration. The following year, she resumed her ministry as accountant, but added secretarial work as well as the much-appreciated service as driver for the Motherhouse, Édouard-Montpetit Residence, and Sainte-Émélie Residence for many years.

When she reached the age of 93, Sister Rachel was welcomed into Maison Jésus-Marie. It was now time for rest and for a ministry of prayer. For a few years, she was reunited with her sister Marcelle at the infirmary where they shared their childhood memories and prayed together. Those three years went by too fast. Rachel, the “big sister” experienced a new detachment as she mourned the loss of her sister and was left alone to prepare for the great encounter. One week after her 100th birthday celebration, her desire to see the Virgin Mary was finally fulfilled.