Sister Yolande Crépeau
“I am with you always until the end of time.” (Mt. 28: 20)
On May 30, 2023, Sister Yolande Crépeau,
in religion Lucie-de-Notre-Dame,
went home to God.
She was 90 years of age, with 68 years of religious profession.
Born in Saint Henri-de-Mascouche, Québec, she was the third
of the five daughters born to Anatole Crépeau and Lucienne Cadieux.
Yolande grew up happily on her parent’s hundred-year-old ancestral farm. The roadside cross that they took care of on their land was the meeting place, called the “Rang du Grand Coteau,” for the four yearly novenas. During the winter, people gathered in the Crépeau home in the evening to sing and dance. These experiences undoubtedly helped Yolande to develop a living faith, as well as social skills and a taste for festive celebrations. Yolande also loved running in the fields, picking berries, and going to the local school where her sister, Marie-Paule, taught grades 3 to 7.
Later, as a boarder in Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan, she admitted that she was very lonesome. At the age of 17, having completed her teacher’s formation in Valleyfield, she taught in the convent in Epiphany for two years. Her three aunts who were religious, and the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary whom she knew, were instrumental in deepening her desire to become a religious. She entered the SNJM novitiate at the age of 19.
As a young professed, Sister Lucie-de-Notre-Dame taught elementary school boys and girls in Waterloo. During her juniorate year she was called to study for a diploma, specializing in pre-school education. She loved it! For more than 30 years, Yolande successfully taught children in kindergarten and pre-kindergarten at Mont Jésus-Marie. “For her, this was both an ecclesial and evangelical ministry: sowing love in a generation of youngsters who sometimes lived in situations far removed from the realm of religious values.”
“Animated by the tender love of Jesus, she offered her students her simple, creative, and joyous patience.” Her attentive and loving presence was visible among youth but also recognized by her SNJM sisters among whom she ministered as animator of “Ma Maison” and “Mont Royal”, two of the groups at the Motherhouse.
After 44 years of teaching, Sister Yolande was gifted with a sabbatical year at Cap-Rouge. Upon her return to the Motherhouse, she was chosen to be director of community services. During the difficult 16 months of the employee strike known as the “lockout” she demonstrated her leadership and creativity. Then in 2005, at the time of the sale of the Motherhouse, her gift for organization was greatly appreciated as she assumed responsibility for vacating the premises in light of the massive move. She confided that she often asked herself, at that time: “Is it my confidence in the presence of Jesus that keeps me calm, peaceful, smiling and serene?”
When she was named to Marie-Rose Durocher Residence, Sister Yolande served as local animator for eight years, followed by three years as animator of Sainte-Emilie Residence. At her last residence, Saint-André Pavilion at Maison Jésus-Marie, she was a dynamic, joyful and discreet presence right up until the time of her sudden and disconcerting death on her 90th birthday. The tender arms of the Virgin Mary, whom she loved so much, must surely have welcomed her on that day, the vigil of the feast of the Visitation!