With humor and much enthusiasm, Sister Esther Champagne of the Institut Notre-Dame du Bon-Conseil de Montréal, led her audience on a journey through time during her presentation on Friday, January 19. Invited as part of the series of lectures on the Discovery of other Religious Congregations, presented at Maison Jésus-Marie, Sister Champagne provided a comprehensive overview of this congregation founded by Marie Gérin-Lajoie in 1923.
At 82 years old, Sister Esther has lost nothing of her wit and her memory! She maintained the interest of those who attended by integrating numerous anecdotes into her one-hour presentation. This was a feat to be emphasized especially given the fact that she imbued enthusiasm for their respective commitments, into all those present.
Painting a vibrant portrait of her institute, Sister Esther first focused on presenting the charism of dedication to social action in all its forms: "Accompanying families, young people, immigrants in a constantly evolving Quebec and in a Church open to the world.”
Marie Gérin-Lajoie had the vision of creating a community of "women motivated by the desire to serve God and by a thirst for greater justice" and on the basis of this vision "through an intense spiritual life combined with a knowledge of the world and with action, would endeavor to bring Christian truths within the context of our contemporary way of thinking.”
The name Notre-Dame du Bon-Conseil had special significance for its foundress. She therefore made a connection between the gifts of the Holy Spirit received by the Virgin Mary at Pentecost and the demands of an apostolic vocation.
“Counsel is an aspect of practical wisdom which is indispensable in life. The gift of counsel brings an inner light that is fast and furious: The Holy Spirit speaks to the heart and leads us to choose what we must say and do”, she emphasized.
Today, the congregation continues to be involved in a variety of works with everyone working actively for a culture of peace through the organization Centre de formation sociale Marie-Gérin-Lajoie, established by the Institute in 1996. Its role is to promote the commitment of responsible citizens with the goal to work against injustice and violence in all its forms.
Photos - Sister Gisèle Lalande