"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace” (Romans 15, 13).
April 27, 2016, Sister Marielle Champagne,
in religion Laurent-de-Marie,
went home to God.
She was 89 years old and had been professed for 67 years.
Born in Montreal, Quebec,
she was the 4th of the 12 children
of Donat Champagne and Maria Lacombe.
Marielle grew up in Montreal and attended Ste-Jeanne-d'Arc and Stadacona Schools which were run by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. When she completed her 11th grade in Science, she worked, for 6 months in the Office of Annals at Saint Joseph’s Oratory. The call to religious life was becoming clear to her and she knew the SNJM Sisters very well. When she was 18, she entered the Novitiate in Outremont.
Following her religious profession, Sister Laurent-de-Marie taught grade 3 for a brief time. The quality of her influence on the students led her superiors to name her as Mistress of Discipline in the Beauharnois Convent, and following that in Valleyfield with students ranging in age from the very young to the oldest.
A companion during these years commented: "Even-tempered and affable, Sister Laurent had a firm,but gentle discipline; the students liked her and felt that they were understood and secure and, unbeknown to them, she taught them good manners. We could sense their happiness."
In 1960, Sister Laurent was appointed infirmarian: she dedicated herself to taking care of those who were ill. After a period of “fieldwork”, and adequate formation she became an auxiliary nurse. For nearly 42 years, Sister Marielle dedicated herself relentlessly to her sick Sisters. She gave the best of herself in the infirmaries at the Motherhouse and in Valleyfield; and later to the Sisters in active ministry at Sainte-Émélie and Marie-Rose-Durocher. She added electrolysis and foot care to her work. Marielle continued the volunteer work of Sister Claire Morin who had just died, by being a maternal presence to a poor person. In good weather, as a hobby, she grew a flower garden.
"For us, Sister Marielle was a kind, loving, attentive and sympathetic companion with whom life was good. She gave the best of herself with great trust in an all-loving God."
In 2012, Sister Marielle was welcomed into the infirmary at Résidence St-Charles in Longueuil. According to her capabilities, she lived a life of prayer which she had always cherished, while still continuing to show an interest in others who were sick.
Speaking of Sister Marielle, we can exclaim "What a beautiful springtime we can create from the ordinary everyday", according to the words of Jean-Paul Desbiens, le Frère Untel.