Always in solidarity, the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary will take part in the World March of Women.
Faithful to their commitment to social justice and to advancing the cause of women, the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary will take part in the 4th World March of Women on October 17, in Trois-Rivières.
A 56-seat bus has been chartered to bring the Sisters, some of whom are 80 years old and older, to the gathering place in Trois-Rivières. The Sisters from Quebec will be joined by an international delegation of Sisters from Lesotho, Peru, the United States and Manitoba, to show their solidarity regarding women’s issues and the theme for this march “Liberate our bodies, our earth and our territories!”
An invitation to bless the participants
A solidarity campaign with all the participating Sisters, lay consecrated persons, and associates, along with the thousands of other women in Trois-Rivières is underway in the Congregation. Actually, the older Ssters are presently actively involved in the preparations by making personalized pennants. In this way, they are assuring their symbolic presence at the site of the march. In conjunction with this, some of the demonstrators are preparing their streamers and posters in keeping with the spirit of the guidelines prepared by CATHII (Comité d’action contre la traite humaine interne et internationale).-( Committee for action against national and international human trafficking.
These preparations will reach their peak on Saturday, October 17 at 8 a.m. with the blessing of the participants who will be taking the bus to Trois-Rivières. Everyone sensitive to women’s issues is invited to join the SNJM Sisters of Longueuil, to offer their blessing and express their solidarity for this major event. The rendezvous will take place in the parking lot of Maison Jésus-Marie, near the Foundation House, located at 86, Saint-Charles Est, in Longueuil.
Sr. Lise Gagnon, a participant from the very beginning, recalls with emotion, even today, her extraordinary experience in 1995, with the women walking in the great “Bread and Roses March” which submitted nine demands such as increasing the minimum wage, setting up a social infrastructure program, reducing sponsorship from 5 years to 3 years and the adoption of a law for pay equity.
“It was an unforgettable adventure. I will always remember the generosity of the people in each village that we went through, the enthusiasm and the pride of the women marchers who had come from everywhere and from all walks of life.” Very involved in community groups in the Montreal Centre-Sud, Sr. Lise Gagnon recalls having experienced this event as an “extremely justice-oriented journey” which brought her “true happiness.”
Her life as a Sister has, in large part, been guided by this credo: “Act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with your God.”(Micah 6:8) Sr. Lise savoured every moment of this ten-day march, which led her from Montreal to Quebec. She also recalled the support of the Congregation, such as the participation of a significant SNJM delegation when the demonstrators arrived in front of the Parliament in Quebec. As well as this involvement, we must also remember the participation of a relay-team of five Sisters, each having walked for two days to complete the route.
SNJM Participation in 1995
Finally, as a show of solidarity, the Sisters from the Motherhouse also marched in the large convent in Outremont, while another group of Sisters participated in the march which was taking place in the streets of Longueuil. The convent in Longueuil also hosted marchers from Abitibi and lent a car to the organizers.
Let us remember that the “Bread and Roses March” has marked our Quebec history. It was also a source of inspiration for the UN’s 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, which led to the creation of the International Coalition of the World March of Women, which was first held in the year 2000.
About the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM)
Founded in Longueuil in 1843 by Eulalie Durocher, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) has always attached great importance to women’s issues by first ensuring the education of young women in rural areas. Always maintaining the mission of education, the SNJM’s of Quebec have continued their commitment to social justice especially in working-class neighbourhoods (Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Centre-Sud, Beauharnois, Longueuil, Saint-Lin, etc.). Today, the international Congregation is active on three continents. In their mission, the SNJM’s act in collaboration with associates, consecrated lay persons, volunteers, colleagues and friends.