“Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them,
and we will come to them and make our home with them.” Jn. 14, 23
August 10, 2011, Sister Bella Lazure,
in religion Marie-Léandre,
went home to God.
She was 93 years old and had been professed for 72 years.
Born in Saint-Urbain de Châteauguay, Québec,
she was the 7th, and one of only two children who would live to become adults.
Her parents were Joseph Lazure and d’Ernestine Faille
Growing up on her parents’ farm, Bella learned to be welcoming, to share, and to be open. The most destitute, beggars, pedlars and others were always received with kindness. She cheerfully helped out with work in the fields and in the house. The family was pious and Bella was gifted and studious. For a year and a half after completing her studies at the village school and the “École Normale” of Valleyfield, she continued to help her parents.
The decision to give her life to God as a religious had been growing in Bella since her early childhood. At the age of 19, she entered the SNJM novitiate, entrusting to faith, the care of her parents for whom she would be the sole support in old age.
For 34 years, Sister Marie-Léandre taught both in primary and secondary schools especially in the St-Chrysostôme region. “Her former students remembered her fondly and were not hesitant to pay tribute to her.”
In 1973, Sister Bell retired from teaching, moved to the Convent in Sainte Martine and enriched the community with her inspiring presence. Always ready to dedicate herself, she was an assistant to the different local superiors for 36 years. She confided:
“The harmonious life of my local community helps me to flourish; my apostolate is limited to the Sisters in my house, especially the sick and those who require various kinds of help. Jesus and Mary have become my companions on the journey, at work, at rest. With age, our spiritual life intensifies, we feel closer to God and we prepare ourselves, with confidence, for the sublime meeting.”
The testimony of one of her companions affirms this:
“Sister Bella Lazure: a woman of compassion and openness. Peaceful and gentle in her daily life, she was a source of inspiration and example. Asking very little for herself, she gave of her time and talents to serve others, especially the underprivileged. The people of Sainte-Martine and the surrounding municipalities where she lived, speak with great admiration about little Sister Bella.”