“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” Ps. 90, 14
On October 20, 2013, Sister Jacqueline Chartrand,
in religion Marie-Denise Bernadette
went home to God.
She was 91 years old and had been professed for 63 years.
Born in L’Épiphanie, Quebec, she was the eldest of the 10 children of
Eugène Chartrand and Bernadette Dufresne.
Jacqueline grew up in Épiphanie, where she studied at the SNJM convent, but her family soon moved to Montreal where her father owned a grocery store. With difficulty, she adapted to the 6th grade, but then left school to help her mother out at home and periodically work at the family grocery store as a cashier. The years passed and Jacqueline was happy.
Upon the invitation of a Sister of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, she attended a closed retreat at the beginning of July, 1948. Her happiness came into question. “I was 26 years old, and about to be engaged. During the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, I distinctly heard these words from the Lord: ‘You know what I want!’ Astonishment. Decision.” Much to the surprise of her family and friends, Jacqueline entered the novitiate two weeks later.
Sister Denise-Bernadette taught for 11 years in Valois and Cookshire, and then was in charge of the boarders at Maskinongé and St-Jean-de-Matha. For the next eight years, she was a seamstress at the Motherhouse and at the convent in Saint Lambert. Since circumstances warranted Sister Jacqueline’s presence to her mother, whose health was a real concern, she spent every day with her at Résidence Berthiaume-du-Tremblay.
According to the chaplain there, “Sister Jacqueline, with her calm manner and remarkable availability was open to all the needs, both spiritual and social, in our milieu. Always and everywhere she brought joy, hope and love.”
Ten years later, Sister Jacqueline returned to the Motherhouse to serve as animator for the sick Sisters and as a switchboard operator. Her artistic talent was expressed through her ceramic designs. At Sainte-Martine Convent she continued to serve the community in various ways. Sister Jacqueline spent the last five years of her life at Maison Jésus-Marie in Longueuil.
“She cheerfully and effortlessly continued to do her knitting right up until she moved into the infirmary. She accepted suffering, disappointment and the long wait until the day” when the God of Celebration would invite her to experience all that she had hoped for: the Presence of the God of Love.