Sister Thérèse Soucy
“I have chosen you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last.” (John 15, 16)
August 8, 2017, Sister Thérèse Soucy
in religion Marie-Hervé-de-Jésus
went home to God.
She was 84 years old and had been professed for 63 years.
Born in Huntingdon, Quebec, she was the younger
of the two daughters of Hervé Soucy and Alexina Varin.
Thérèse grew up as a happy child, with parents “of gold”, she told us, “who were very gentle, very generous and who displayed multiple signs of tenderness, understanding and love.” With her sister and her friends, she would play Mass and school. At the time of her First Communion, she decided that she would become a “Sister”.
She attended the Huntingdon Boarding School, directed by the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre-Dame. When the family moved to Howick, she continued her studies as a boarding student in Beauharnois with the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, after which she attended the École Normale in Valleyfield, where she completed her studies with ease. The following month, when she was 19 years old, she entered the SNJM Novitiate.
After her Profession, Sister Hervé-de-Jésus taught for 3 years at the elementary level and 12 years at the secondary level, in both the private and public sectors. Her enthusiasm ensured her influence with her students. Following two years of Pastoral Care studies at the university level, Sister Thérèse was appointed Pastoral Animator at the new Baie-St-François High School in Valleyfield.
“I remained there for nine wonderful years during which I discovered realities that had been ignored until then: family problems, worries about employment, drugs, poverty.”
While in Valleyfield, Sister Thérèse began her involvement in social issues which lasted until she retired: training of regional teams from Development and Peace, establishing a Tel-Aide Service, in collaboration with the CEGP. Asked to help out in South-Central Montreal, she participated in the formation of collective kitchens, and a place of analysis and learning for marginalized people to take care of themselves. Returning to Valleyfield, she set up collective kitchens, was appointed Director of Sacramental Initiation for the diocese and assistant to the Director of Parishes for 5 years. Sister Thérèse was joyful, militant and witnessed to a “concrete” faith, as she increased her community involvement with impoverished people, whom she called “the Street Church”.
Easily approachable, she was adept in understanding the needs, creative in detecting a solution, and fostering collaboration: round table on poverty, housing committee, home visits for seniors, Social Justice Committee, support for School, Municipal and Provincial elections, grassroots justice and solidarity community groups… “Sister Thérèse possessed remarkable skills for organizing projects, teamwork and group facilitation.”
As the years passed and her capacity was declining, Sister Thérèse continued her apostolate in a very typical way: she pored over newspapers, magazines, and archives and would send articles to people she knew. She continued to do this even when she was in the infirmary…! It was useless to try to forbid it! She wanted to spread the Word and bear witness to it until the very end, when the Lord would come for her!