More than 600 people attended the celebration that highlighted the departure of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) from the municipality of Sainte-Martine which is in the Diocese of Valleyfield. Several people expressed the following sentiments, “The parish is losing one of its most precious jewels and we’ve come to show our gratitude even though we are regretting their decision.”
The 60 or so Sisters including the 12 from the convent in Ste-Martine were greatly surprised by the extent of the preparations for this celebration organized by Micheline Renaud, president of the pastoral council and by the huge outpouring of gratitude expressed throughout the day.
The large number of people who attended greatly illustrated the sentiments of all. “Former students and parishioners recognized all the work accomplished by the Sisters throughout the 115 years here in our midst,” said Mrs. Renaud who also added, “They regret the Congregation’s decision but they understand. They are saying thankyou, each in their own way.”
Despite of the feelings of regret and the external show of emotions, everyone helped to make this a very happy event, filled with a sense of community and hope.
Sister Marthe Carmel, the local superior of the convent, shared the following: “The people of Sainte-Martine and the surrounding areas have shown a spirit of mutual support. The solidarity with our foundress, Eulalie Durocher, is deeply rooted here. We appreciate the understanding attitude of this beautiful community in which we have shared many wonderful memories."
As mentioned during and after the celebration the members of Quebec SNJM Province Leadership Team are confident that the “spirit of Mother–Marie-Rose (Eulalie Durocher) and the values transmitted to the students, will live on in the future.”
Msgr Luc Cyr, bishop of the diocese of Valleyfield and presider at the celebration recalled the importance of the work of the Sisters in this local area. Contributions from the municipality of Sainte-Martine and certain business owners enabled this day to be so memorable.
Along with the comments given by several parishioners and former students, a few organizations including “L’Entrat” the House for Youth, also publicly expressed their gratitude.
The Congregation in Sainte-Martine began in 1896, establishing a convent school for boarders and day scholars. Along with elementary and high school classes, courses were taught that led to certification in teacher training. In 1919, the Sisters established a School for home economics instruction that gradually, in stages became affiliated with the University of Montreal.
Following the changes in the educational system, the Sisters turned their attention to becoming more involved in various ways in the community of Sainte-Martine, working with certain organizations, and participating the life of the parish.
The Holy Names Sisters and their Associates mainly work in the field of education, education in the faith, social justice, the promotion of the arts and pastoral ministry. They strongly believe in the full development of each person.
The Congregational House is situated on rue Saint-Charles Est, in Longueuil, in close proximity to the co-Cathedral Saint-Antoine-de-Padou. Those who wish to contact the Holy Names Sisters can call 450-651-8104 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org