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An enthusiastic response from an interested and grateful public

“The Passion of Augustine… according to the SNJM’s”

“One reaps what one sows” goes the old saying. The SNJM’s received a large bushel of love and gratitude during this memorable day at the Congregational House on August 13. Actually, some 250 people passed through the doors of the House to participate in an informal historical talk, attend a concert and visit the various exhibits, the historic rooms, the Foundation House and the Centre Marie-Rose with its treasures.

Organized within the framework of cultural activities for the Archeological Month of the City of Longueuil, this day generated a lot of interest from the public. A week before these activities actually took place, it was impossible to register for the informal historical talk or the musical concert, due to the lack of places in the chapel.

An edifying passion

The participants, about half of whom were former students, discovered the sense of humour of the six Sisters who were panelists called to witness to their lived experiences during the sixties. They each related a few anecdotes with simplicity.  They responded to questions from the audience and received with gratitude, the testimonies of the support given by people of all ages. 

The scriptwriter of the film “The Passion of Augustine”, Marie Vien and the renowned musician, Lorraine Prieur, a former SNJM student, joined their voices to those of this group of panelists. They emphasized, each in their own way, their knowledge of and personal experience with the religious congregation, recognized for its significant contribution to teaching, including the teaching of music. 

Lorraine Prieur made particular mention of the importance of the SNJM’s in her life both as a woman and as a professional musician. She spoke about her pride in continuing to transmit the SNJM values through her work with young musicians.

In dealing with the audience, the scriptwriter Marie Vien explained what had deeply motivated her at the beginning of this project. In response to questions from the audience, she provided explanations for her choices for certain aspects of the film.

The concert which followed stirred up much wonder and enjoyment. To see and hear the Sisters at the ages of 86 and 79, singing with such command was a highlight for many. After remarkable presentations by Lorraine Prieur on the piano and Luc Saucier, a singer, the concert concluded with a presentation by 11 year old Thomas Shahbaghyan, a violin prodigy.  See the attached PDF file of the program for the concert (in French only)

Exhibitions and Centre Marie-Rose

Along with these two activities, starting at 11 am the visitors were able to visit the exhibits from the SNJM Archives Department. One exhibit focused on the history of the congregation via the General Chapters, while the other directly related to the activities of Archeological Month, was devoted to the Saint-Antoine Brook. These exhibits are still open to the public, during regular hours (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a one hour break at noon).

The visitors were also able to follow the SNJM’s journey in the schools in Longueuil, to see the treasures in Centre Marie-Rose, which is dedicated to the Foundress, and explore a few historical rooms and the Foundation House. At this point, there were so many things to discover that some of the visitors chose to return in the near future to continue their exploration.

Judging by the praise and comments they received, the initiative of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) has been deeply appreciated by the participants. And what can be said about the touching experience of reuniting former students with the Sisters who were there!
In short, some of the finest moments were experienced during this day on which the visitors' interest was palpable. The last ones reluctantly left at 5:00 pm while the proposed closing time had been set for 4 pm.

Consult the photo albums for this August 13th date: “The Passion of  Augustine… according to the SNJM’s -1” and “The Passion of Augustine… according to the SNJM’s -2”

Expressions of gratitude

To cap all of this off, here are a few of the testimonials left by the visitors in a guest book for this occasion...

  • “How marvellous that the education that an entire people has received, this education and meticulous training, has allowed them to keep their personality and their francophone roots. A million thanks.” - D. Lévesque
  • “12 years with the SNJM Sisters whom I thank for having taught me wonderful values. Thanks to all of you for your great dedication.” - J. Lacoste
  • “All my years of elementary and secondary education were with the Sisters. I studied at the SNJM Convent in 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th grades. I was not a student to whom success came easily. What I appreciated was the confidence placed in me in social activities and in music. I learned, I had confidence and I grew. Thank you.” - Marie G., Associate
  • “What a wonderful exhibit for a person who was not familiar with the boarding school environment and who can barely remember the Sisters. Thank you for your dedication and all your love.” - M…
  • What fantastic memories I have here in the Longueuil Convent, where I attended primary school (from 1960-1967), and of the five years I spent in the classrooms in the little house next door. Thank you for the wonderful education received and the knowledge of the French language. Thank you to Sister Thérèse Alma (Andréa Poirier) and Sisters Colette and Madeleine de Provence.” - D. Touten
  • Thank you for this contribution to our society which has always needed beauty, music and any art that allows us to release all these emotions within. Abundant memories have made us what we have become. Thank you for all these riches.” - T. Lemire accompanied by her daughter and son-in-law
  • “Thank you for your invitation to discover this world filled with the love of God and with music.”- S. Dufour
  • “We thank you sincerely for your great dedication to teaching and to music.”- M. Duranleau
  • “Thank you for a wonderful afternoon and also for all the work carried out by the Sisters. I have very good memories of my studies” - Jacqueline J.
  • “A big, big thank you for these wonderful moments.” - S. Hotte
  • Thank you so very much for this beautiful and emotionally rich afternoon. Wonderful! Thank you for having invited us. We will be back." - L. Lamequin
  • “Thank you. It was a heartfelt presentation. I hope there will be another day like this. In friendship.” - C. Forand
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