“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...