Sister Thérèse Rodrigue
“You have been trustworthy in a few things…enter into the joy of your master.” (Mt 25, 21)
August 18, 2015, Sister Thérèse Rodrigue,
in religion Marie Marie-Henri
went home to God.
She was 86 years old and had been professed for 65 years.
Born in Laventure, Saskatchewan, she was the oldest of the 7 children
of Adalbert Rodrigue and Rachel Poirier.
“At the beginning of the 20th century, a group of pioneers from Quebec settled in a wooded area northwest of Saskatchewan.” When the young couple, Adalbert Rodrigue and Rachel Poirier, settled in the Francophone village of Laventure with its round wooden chapel, it had only been in existence for a few years (musee.societehisto.com/lac-witchican-laventure-n381-t718.html).(in French only)
For Thérèse’s family, life was the difficult life of pioneers, of those who were daring; their land underwent periods of drought and could not meet their needs. Thérèse, as the eldest of six children, was formed by living a harsh life, showing selflessness, and developing responsibility: harnessing the horse, leading it to the village in all kinds of weather, facing the unexpected, and depriving herself for others… She eventually had to leave and return to Quebec where an uncle from Chartierville opened his home to her: there were 16 and the figure would rise to close to 25. It was a school for heroism, for concern for others.
Thérèse continued her studies at the village convent. When she was 17, she entered the Novitiate of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. Sister Marie-Henri taught in French for 20 years in the primary schools of Montreal, and then for a similar length of time, she taught English to the children at Mont-Jésus-Marie in Outremont. As a teacher, Sister Thérèse was practical, precise, and exacting with regards to work and discipline, and she was also very dedicated.
Following a year of doctrinal renewal at Cap-Rouge, Sister Thérèse helped out with the accounting at the Motherhouse and was also the bursar at Résidence Marie-Rose-Durocher. She also took on the task of driver. During this time, she was very attuned to the conditions of those who were destitute as well as the need to care for the environment. Her response was tangible: she collaborated with “Optométristes Sans Frontières” by collecting used eye glasses for needy people in developing countries. What a procedure and so much time invested!
Sister Thérèse spent her last years in the infirmary in Longueuil where she received the care necessitated by her state of health. With her rosary in hand, she was faithful to her almost daily walk. She also had a great love of nature. Attentive to the changing seasons, she took an interest in the trees, the buds and the seeds; she even brought them in at mealtime to share her interest with her companions.
Faithful to her siblings, she stayed in touch with them and accompanied each one with her prayers. Up until the very end, recycling was an expression of her conviction that everything could be used again.
Sister Thérèse honored creation, meeting her Creator in it.