“Who can find a strong woman? She is far more precious than jewels.” Proverbs 31:10
October 2, 2013, Sister Yolande Demers,
in religion Marie-Alfred-Armand
went home to God.
She was 86 years old and had been professed for 66 years.
Born in Saint-Paul-l’Ermite, Quebec, she was the 15th of 17 children of Alfred Demers and Ida Deslonchamps.
Yolande attended the primary schools of Baril, Ste Jeanne d’Arc, Stadacona and la Nativité d’Hochelaga where the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary were teaching.
At home, she was surrounded by love and deeply loved her family. “Mama was a reserved and gentle woman. She knew how to calm us down simply by making a gesture with her two hands which said everything. She loved children. Papa was a wonderful man who was very respectful. My parents lived their faith."
Her religious vocation was rooted in her home life: “The conjugal love of my Father and Mother was for me a testimony which led me to religious life.”
As a teenager, she and her sister Simone helped out in the kitchen at Hochelaga Convent where she came to know the SNJM’s even better. Throughout her life, Yolande remained close to her family, especially her sisters.
Having entered the novitiate at the age of 17, Sister Marie-Alfred-Armand made her profession when she was 19 years old. The first three years of her religious life, she was a cook in Marie-Rose Boarding school as well as other boarding schools in Montréal, and Longueuil. For the next 55 years, Sister Yolande served at the Motherhouse, especially as a nurse’s aide for 26 years.
“With our sick sisters, Sister Yolande would assume responsibility for those who had undergone surgery and those who were dying. She counted neither time, pain, nor fatigue; she listened only to her generous heart. Through her warm welcome, her attentive listening and her kind attention, she knew how to tend both physical and mental wounds.”
For 29 years, Sister Yolande was also the sacristan at the Motherhouse, a task she carried out “with remarkable simplicity. Sister Yolande got along easily with people. She carried out her duties with gentleness, discretion and kindness, with competence, self-forgetfulness, a sense of responsibility and respect for each one.”
When the Motherhouse closed, Sister Yolande was named to the Convent at Ste-Martine where she helped out in the pharmacy. During the last four years, as her health was declining, she dedicated herself to prayer ministry at Maison Jésus-Marie, in Longueuil, where the Lord would eventually come to take her “home”. In faith she had offered up her suffering.