"If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you...” (Rev. 3, 20)
March 27, 2017, Sister Angèle Blais,
in religion Marie-Hormidas
went home to God.
She was 95 years old and had been professed for 70 years.
Born in St-Pierre-de-Broughton, Quebec,
she was the 14th of the 15 children
of Louis Blais and Odile Fugère.
Angèle grew up, pampered by her older brothers and sisters. Her father, a farmer, was very involved in the community: mayor of the municipality, warden, and postmaster of the county. Her mother was joyful, hospitable, and very dedicated. Deeply Christian, this couple happily harnessed up the two horses to bring everyone to church. Evening prayer, with the whole family was also a special moment of the day.
After 4th grade at the rural school, Angèle attended the village school and then the École Normale de Beauville directed by the Sœurs de Jésus-Marie de Sillery. Having obtained her teaching diploma, Angèle taught, for four years, at the school in her village. All this time she was secretly harboring within herself the desire to consecrate herself to the Lord: "I was in fifth grade in elementary school, when after Communion I was convinced that I would become a nun. I kept my secret with the joy and the reassurance that everything would be arranged so that I could attain my dream."
After the death of her mother, when Angèle was 23, she went to join her two sisters, Alma and Marie-Anna, who had already entered the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. Sister Marie-Hormidas' teaching career spanned 33 years. She taught grades 1 to 11 in the schools of St-Bruno, Chartierville, Ormstown, St-Chrysostome, Ste-Martine, La Patrie, Beloeil, and Pensionnat Marie-Rose in Montreal. She was also in charge of the Eucharistic Crusade and the JEC (Young Catholic Students).
“Her pedagogical skills and her deep, enlightened spirituality brought her the joy of seeing many of her students become priests. Her dedication was matched only by her desire to serve, and she put all her talents into play in the field of education."
In her early fifties, due to failing health, Sister Angèle left teaching. Hairdressing courses provided her with the skill needed to dedicate eleven years as a hairdresser for the Sisters at Collège Durocher, while also helping out in the parish. "Her hair salon was a place of welcome, kindness and rest for her Sisters."
Two parishes in the St-Jean-Longueuil Diocese: Saint-Jude and Saint-Jean-Eudes, benefited from her ministry: catechetical initiation, pastoral assistant, member of the choir, pastoral care of the sick and member of the parish council. When she was about 75 years old, Sister Angèle moved to the vacation house in Val-Morin, where she welcomed people and provided community services. "Elegance, discretion, and dedication made Sister Angèle a welcoming host, and an attentive, enjoyable companion with whom it was a pleasure to live."
To her family members, Sister Angele remained important, as evidenced by a niece's testimony: "She was surrounded by her nieces and nephews who saw in her a mother taken too soon or an aunt, different from others through her accessibility, her forthrightness and her distinctive, broad temperament.”
After having lived for 10 years at Résidence Ste-Émélie, during which she devoted herself to the ministry of prayer, Sister Angèle, was welcomed into the infirmary at Maison Jésus-Marie in Longueuil, where she received the care she needed. Her peaceful surrender prepared her to meet face to face with the One whom she had worshipped with so much love and who was living both within in her and in the Eucharist.