“Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit.” Luke 12: 35.
May 5, 2012, Sister Madeleine Lavallée,
in religion Marie-Germain,
went home to God.
She was 92 years old and had been professed for 60 years.
Born in Katevale de Magog, Quebec,
she was the 8th of 11 children of Évariste Lavallée and Anne-Marie Tremblay.
Madeleine was three years old when her family established itself in Stansteadin the Eastern Townships. Her father was a blacksmithand her mother a parish organist. “While very young, I developed a taste for prayer by watching my mother pray when she brought me to church. From the time I was 13, I had the desire to give myself wholly to God, while serving my neighbours.”
Spinal scoliosis forced Madeleine to undergo an operation when she was 17 years old. The teenager, obliged to remain in a horizontal position for months, kept herself busy by: reading, listening to the radio, and taking correspondence courses. Her desire to give herself to Jesus Christ led her to take a private vow of chastity when she was 18 years old.
“To prove to myself and to my family that I had the health necessary to stand up to the rigours of religious life in those days, I took courses as a radiology technician in Sherbrooke and worked at the same hospital for 4 years. I came to know the SNJM’s through my friend and co-worker at the hospital, Cécile Lamy, who entered and became Sister Marie-de-la-Foi. I was won over by the welcome and the simplicity of the community.”
At the age of 29, Madeleine requested admission to the Novitiate of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. Sister Marie-Germain taught for 8 years at École St-Germain d’Outremont, École Normale de Valleyfield and at Collège Jésus-Marie. “One day, to my great surprise, Mother General suggested that I take courses in nursing at l’ hôpital Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, where I trained to becoome a surgical nurse.”
As an impeccable professional, who listened to those who were sick, who was a kind, loving and sympathetic companion to her sisters, Sister Madeleine gave of herself without counting the cost. Until she was 70 years old, she was a full-time nurse at our Motherhouse and in Valleyfield for 5 years. She took care of the formation of our Sisters in charge of nursing in our infirmaries and in our local houses, through meticulously prepared practical courses.
The time came for her to retire...Sister Madeleine volunteered her time to be present to the dying at the Centre hospitalier Côte-des-Neiges as well as to those who were dying at the Motherhouse.
In 2002, she was admitted to the Infirmary. Little by little, she lost her keen insight as her mind began to wander. Sister Madeleine remained open, approachable and welcoming everyone with her smile.
As a reflection of the One whom she loved and served in her neighbour, Sister Madeleine cultivated the virtues of “goodness, compassion, patience, wisdom and the free gift of self”.