Close to 150 people attended the reunion and celebration of gratitude for the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM), on August 26, at Résidence Sainte-Émélie, in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve districts. For many of those who participated, it was an opportunity to reconnect with the Sisters and to share memories.
One participant living in the area did not want to miss this occasion for ‘all the money in the world’. "The Sisters, who are a part of our history and our neighborhood, played an important role here.”
The emotion was palpable in the corridors and the rooms or small salons where people took time to converse. Numerous groups formed as guests arrived. At the end of the afternoon, many were reluctant to leave.
We can recall, among other things, the meeting between a former employee and a Sister whom she had known for more than 30 years and whom she had not seen for years, or former students who have met again after decades. There were many, from neighborhood residents, former employees and alumni, who participated in this feast which was an experience in joy and in sharing. Others, including a woman now living in France, sent messages emphasizing the contribution of the Sisters, including one who taught piano.
Photos, displayed on the walls, recalling various events in different eras, made it easy to return to the roots. Indeed, reunion and celebration of gratitude was an opportunity to draw attention to the significant presence of the SNJMs in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve-Viauville districts.
In addition to the many invited guests coming from far and wide, there were also Sisters who had lived or were currently living in the house, Associates, not to mention the members of the Provincial and General Leadership Teams. Laurence Lavigne Lalonde, the borough councilor of the Maisonneuve-Longue-Pointe region, and Réal Ménard, Mayor of the borough, were also in attendance.
Gathered in the chapel, those present were treated to an inspirational ritual using the symbol of a rose, an implied reference to Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher, the foundress of the Congregation.
Sister Pierrette Désilets then retraced the SNJM journey in the East of Montréal and, in particular, the opening of the Sainte-Émélie Boarding School, whose mission has adapted over time. At each stage (seed, germination, fertilization, pollination, budding and blossoming), someone was called upon to bring up a large petal which was then placed on a display board, leading the audience to finally discover ... a beautiful rose.
Hymns and messages of hope and thanksgiving were included in this presentation, which met with the approval of the audience who was so impressed by the range of services created or supported by the SNJMs in this neighborhood.
In conclusion, we are reminded that this activity was the work of a special committee led by Sister Lise Bluteau, assisted by Sisters Jeannine Cornellier, Gilberte Therrien, Pierrette Désilets, Lise Gendron, Claudette Bastien and associate Diane Corbeil.