“Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.” Lk 1:28
February 21, 2012, Sister Raymonde Laurendeau,
in religion Marie-Virginie, went home to God.
She was 97 years old and had been professed for 74 years.
Born in Saint-Barthélemy, Quebec, she was the eldest of 10 children
of Édouard Laurendeau and Virginie Bérard.
Raymonde was three years old when her mother died. Six months later, her father married a cousin of his deceased wife. Raymonde grew up in a family of farmers, a family in which faith was an important part of daily life. She initially attended the one-roomed local school and then went to the convent in the village. At home, she busied herself with all types of housework, including baking bread.
A serious young man was courting her...Raymonde was also feeling the call to religious life. To discern more clearly, she intensified her prayer, and between her household chores she recited Hail Mary’s... she went to spend three weeks at the convent so as to more closely observe the Sisters. Upon returning home, she still had not decided. The parish retreat shed light on her decision: she decided to enter the novitiate. She was 21 years old.
In the convent, Sister Marie-Virginie used her numerous talents; from her very first assignment, she was in charge of the older students as “mistress of discipline”. She taught weaving and sewing. The year of her final profession came:
“Her serious friend had continued to hope… Raymonde asked her brothers to tell him to find himself a good wife and assure him of her prayers.”
For 40 years, Sister Marie-Virginie taught the cutting out of patterns for making clothes and sewing them, as well as arts and crafts, particularly in our Family Institutes in Sainte-Martine and Saint-Lambert. “Calm, serene, gentle and firm in her faith”, she was loved by her students.
When at the age of 64 she retired from teaching, Sister Raymonde remained active and devoted herself to working at our vacation home in Saint-Sauveur and to the Motherhouse. Community services, such as maintenance and receptionist, were familiar to her. Her sisters appreciated her:
“A companion who was discreet, charming, cheerful, dedicated and welcoming, she took an interest in the house; great simplicity of life characterized her. She knitted with perfection, organized successful, community social evenings, rendered service with enthusiasm, knew how to give compliments and express with diplomacy the most selfless opinions. She had a great love for the Divine Office. Vacations and outings were rare for her. ‘I promised to lead a secluded life and I have held to it’.”
Sister Raymonde was admitted to the infirmary at the age of 90. For three years the loss of her short-term memory had been taking its toll on her. Throughout these years our Sister remained faithful to saying her Hail Mary’s and to walking in the hall. With feeling, she added her still-beautiful voice to anyone who would start singing a “Bonne Chanson”. Sister Raymonde enjoyed life until the very end!