“I found him whom my soul loves" (Song of Solomon 3: 4)
May 30, 2016, 2012, Sister Gertrude Veillette,
in religion Marie Bruno-des-Anges,
went home to God.
She was 96 years old and had been professed for 71 years.
Born in Sainte-Thècle, Quebec, she was the 4th of the 7 children
of Bruno Veillette and Angéline Dessureault.
Gertrude was 7 years old when her father, who was a farmer, died of pneumonia. She remembered him as a firm believer, a municipal councillor who loved to be of service to others. "We always missed him": The family moved to Saint-Narcisse to live with a maternal uncle who was single. "We were no longer at home. My uncle, who was strict and did not recognize children’s needs, provided us with only bare necessities."
Gertrude loved to study; she was in the 7th grade when her mother had an accident. Gertrude then had to take over the care for their home so that her older sister, having completed her studies, would be able to teach to meet the family’s needs. When she was 23, Gertrude, with her mother’s consent, asked to be admitted into the Novitiate of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary: several of her friends from the village had become SNJM Sisters and seemed happy.
Sister Bruno-des-Anges loved manual labor. For 40 years, she dedicated herself wholeheartedly to community services in the refectory and the kitchen in Valleyfield, Maskinongé, Ville Lemoyne and the Motherhouse. From these many experiences she remembered, especially while living at the residence of École Sainte-Agnès (Ville Lemoyne), of becoming a member of the 'Cercles des fermières', of making good friends, of learning to weave, and of teaching culinary arts to about ten 6th grade students for 5 years. There are many acknowledgments drawn from this era:
A former teacher wrote: "Remembering Sister Bruno brings to mind her cheerfulness, her contagious laugh." “Long after she left, Sister Bruno would regularly receive a beautiful bouquet of flowers from the principal of the school". "The pastor would come and have breakfast with us every time Sister Bruno was making pancakes for us." "The father of a former student told his daughter that Sister Bruno was visiting the presbytery. This woman came to bring her a jar of ketchup which she had cooked, using the recipe she had learned from Sister Bruno 20 years ago."
When she was 65, Sister Gertrude was assigned to accompany the sick.
"With much compassion, devotion, and giving of herself, she accompanied our sick Sisters to hospitals and clinics. She counted neither her time, nor her trouble, nor her fatigue, listening only to her generous heart."
True to herself, Sister Gertrude, at 83 years of age, "continued to serve according to her capability"; she was then living at Résidence Ste-Émélie and shared in some of the daily chores. She was welcomed into our infirmary in Longueuil where she remained for the last 4 years of her life, continuing to take an interest the daily schedule, in being in touch with her friends, and of enriching her life of prayer in the present moment and through the recitation of the rosary. She took advantage of every opportunity to express her gratitude to God, to her family and to her community.
May Sister Gertrude’s joy and gratitude be an extension of her presence!