Sister Rhéa Boisselle
“Let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.” Ps. 27:14
February 16, 2013, Sister Rhéa Boisselle,
in religion Marie-Albine
went home to God.
She was 91 years old and had been professed for 72 years.
Born in Saint-Antoine sur Richelieu, Quebec, she was the 2nd of four daughters
of Ovide Boisselle and Émiliana Petit.
Rhéa was 5 years old when her mother died. As young as they were, the children helped out in the house, because their father could not afford to pay a housekeeper: he had spent everything to take care of his wife. “We experienced extreme poverty: even so far as to having no shoes to wear outside.“
When she was 6 years old, Rhéa attended the parochial school. When she was 7, she was a boarder, for one year at a school run by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in Contrecoeur. The next year until she was 12, she attended the local one-room schoolhouse.
This was followed by 2 years during which she took care of her home, before going to the Hochelaga Boarding School as a “blue bird” for 3 years.
Despite her fragile health, Sister Marie-Albine, dedicated herself to the sick Sisters in the infirmary at the Motherhouse in Outremont, where she was always generous with her time.
“She knew how to listen, understand, sometimes excuse and always reassure those who were sick. She was pleasant, kind, discreet and patient. Her greatest joy was to accompany the Sisters during their final moments of life.”
“When she retired, she made herself available as a hairdresser for the sick Sisters.”
Sister Rhéa’s life testified to great faithfulness in prayer: She spent much of her time in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Her written notes confirmed her love and gratitude.
Sister Rhéa wrote about what love meant to her, and here we quote a few excerpts:
“To love is to agree to fight in life without crushing others, to rejoice without envying the success of others, to accept being disturbed by others, to be able to acknowledge that the other person may be right, to be able to say: I congratulate you, to be able to say together: ‘Our Father, may your will be done, forgive us’…”.
“In simplicity and spontaneity, she esteemed Mary, and and also thanked and congratulated her “God of love.”
“The good Lord is so simple, uncomplicated. He is a Father.”
And she, who was orphaned at such an early age, also wrote, “He takes the place of our mothers. Thank you for all you do for your children upon earth. Congratulations, God of Love and Goodness!”