Sister Raymonde Bertrand
”I will sing to the Lord as long as I live.” (Psalm 104: 33)
May 16, 2017, Sister Raymonde Bertrand
in religion Marie-Ida-de-la-Croix
went home to God.
She was 87 years old and had been professed for 64 years.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, she was the 4th of the 5 children
of Arthur Bertrand and Ida Constantineau.
Born in Montreal, Raymonde was eight years old when the family moved to Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts. She first attended the village school and then the École normale de Valleyfield which was directed by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. With a Laureate in piano when she returned to Saint-Sauveur, she held the position of parish organist. She was 19 years old when her father died, after a lengthy illness. The following year, in response to a desire that had been developing within her from her early years, she entered the SNJM Novitiate in Outremont. Death revisited her family with the sudden death of her mother.
The first mission where I was welcomed as a piano teacher was the École normale de Valleyfield, my “Alma Mater”. And so it was in this way, that Sister Ida-de-la-Croix began a teaching career that would span 26 years. Convent de La Patrie, École du Saint-Nom-de-Marie, St-Roch-de-l’Achigan, Institut familial de Ste-Martine, and Pensionnat Marie-Rose were all places where she would enjoy many good years expending her energy.
Then, when Sister Raymonde felt the need to recoup her strength, she left teaching. Living with a small group of Sisters enabled her to adjust her workload: She quickly became the parish choir director at Paroisse St-Alphonse d’Youville where she remained for thirty years. She devoted herself to catechetical initiation and was available for other services including secretarial work and liturgy planning. Sister Raymonde was happy, felt very comfortable and was appreciated. She knew that she was continuing education in the faith.
“Approximately fifty people gather every week in a climate of relaxation and joy, to prepare a repertoire of religious songs which is very much appreciated during liturgical ceremonies”, noted the parish bulletin.
“Sister Raymonde has carried out faith education with parishioners enabling them to better live the liturgy. With a vocal ensemble she has made the beauty of sound and song reverberate bringing a vital contribution to the parish liturgy.”
After twenty-one years living with small groups of Sisters, Sister Raymonde moved to Résidence Marie-Rose-Durocher where she continued her commitment to the Redemptorist Fathers’ parish choir. A pleasant companion, available and obliging, she enriched the local liturgy every day and during those 19 years also contributed to the health of the community, with a touch of humor.
When she was 84, Sister Raymonde was welcomed into the Infirmary at Maison Jésus-Marie. In spite of her declining health, dedicated to the ministry of prayer, she regularly integrated into her life, times of prayer, friendly encounters and knitting for the poor. Little by little, with gratitude, she was preparing herself to be welcomed by her Lord and to eternally sing of her Love.