Sister Yolande Henri
“As clay is in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand.” (Jer. 18:6)
On March 6, 2022, Sister Yolande Henri,
in religion M.-Éveline-Thérèse,
went home to God.
She was 94 years of age, with 72 years of religious profession.
Born in Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan, she was the second of the seven children
born to Rémi Henri and Éveline Beaudry.
Yolande’s father owned the reputable mill Moulin Bleu in Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan. The children of the family followed each other quickly. Three more children had joined the family by the time Yolande was four years old.
A relative recounted:
” Yolande lived with my uncle and aunt between the ages of four and six. The way Yolande described it, ‘There were too many babies in the house.’ When it was time for her to go to school, Yolande’s parents decided to repatriate her! However, Yolande was saddened because she enjoyed living with her aunt, even though the latter was a little severe. She was replaced by her sister Therese who had recently turned four.”
Yolande first attended the country school, then Saint Roch-de-l’Achigan Convent which was directed by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. There, “she was known to have no enemies. She always warmly welcomed all her companions, never preferring one friend over another. As a student, she was diligent, well-organized and studious. I never heard any of our teachers reproach Yolande. Playful, happy, even a little mischievous, she liked to tease people.” This description was written by one of Yolande’s school companions who much later noted that, even as a religious, Yolande could still be described in this way.
Yolande entered the SNJM novitiate when she was 20. She received the name Éveline-Thérèse. As most religious of the time, she pursued her studies while teaching, first at Cherrier and Bruchési elementary schools and then at Saint-Timothée Boarding School, for a total of ten years. After a year of full-time studies, she returned to Saint-Timothée, to teach at the high school level, then at Valleyfield and Outremont Convents, for a total of 28 years of teaching.
Yolande was very attached to her students and they loved her. She was happy to share her knowledge with them and to prepare them for life. “I have very good memories of her as having a heart full of compassion,” says a student she taught in 1960. Another, from 1986, writes: “When teaching angles in Math class, she gestured with her arms and invited us to do the same. It was so unforgettable that I used the same technique to teach acute, obtuse, and right angles to my own children!”
In 1988, Yolande’s ministry with youth took on a new direction as she became an assistant school librarian. For more than 20 years, she radiated joy in her new work at Outremont Convent, the Motherhouse, and then Marie-Rose Durocher Residence. From there, she worked in the general archives of the Congregation in Longueuil, all the while continuing to work zealously in the Maison Jesus-Marie library, sometimes until eleven o’clock at night.
With the members of her community, Yolande remained warm and welcoming. She lived at Bellerive and at Édouard-Montpetit. Always anxious to please others, she never counted the cost. She loved to garden, cook and keep house. In 2016, Maison Jésus-Marie welcomed her after she suffered a stroke and so required care and attention. Throughout her illness, Yolande was docile, even as she struggled to talk. She often repeated the confident prayer: “Father, I am your child!” and it is as that simple and generous child that God welcomed her home.