“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” (Jn. 13, 34)
February 11, 2014, Sister Gabrielle Beaudoin,
in religion Marie-Jean-Ernest,
went home to God.
She was 91 years old and had been professed for 69 years.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, she was the 5th of the 15 children f Ernest Beaudoin and Anna Bourdon.
Gabrielle grew up near École du St-Nom-de-Marie where the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary were teaching. Her father, a leather merchant, succeeded in making a good life for his family which was rapidly growing. Her mother, a courageous, hard-working and kind woman, taught her children to assume responsibilities, according to their ages.
Evening prayer, together as a family, her parents’ esteem for the Sisters: “My mother spoke about the Sisters as if they were people from heaven.” and the influence of her teachers, cultivated fertile ground for sowing the seed of Gabrielle’s vocation. At that time, she was between eight and ten years old.
When Gabrielle was 21, she entered the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. “I found this new life quite difficult and it is still difficult”, she said when she was 75 years old. Looking at Sister Jean-Ernest, a calm, smiling, warm-hearted woman, who would have guessed the struggles that she lived each day.
Sister Jean-Ernest’s first thirty years in the community were spent teaching children at the primary level: Hochelaga, École Jeannotte de Beloeil, Outremont, École Notre-Dame de Bellerive. In this last school where she taught for 10 years, she would be actively involved with handicapped children, also called ‘exceptional children’. She later became the regional director for the Valleyfield area. Her competence and her remarkable dedication earned her the “Mérite Scolaire” Award.
Sister Gabrielle was 52 when the Provincial Superior in Outremont chose her to become her assistant. She returned to Montreal to become a member of the Canterbury local community, and assumed responsibility for Chalet de Val-des-Lacs.
When her mandate ended, she worked in the sound archives at the Vincent-d’Indy Superior School of Music and was also local superior at Résidence Isabella. The Groupe Sacré-Cœur at the Motherhouse and the Sisters at Résidence Marie-Rose-Durocher would also benefit from her love which was most attentive and kind.
She was 85 years old when, having been accepted into Maison Jésus-Marie, she dedicated herself fully to prayer ministry. Sister Gabrielle lived out what John Paul II said: “Goodness works quietly; the power of love is expressed in the unassuming quietness of daily service.”