March 8, 2014, Sister Claire Désilets,
in religion Marie-Victorin
went home to God.
She was 96 years old and had been professed for 69 years.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, she was the last of the 10 children
of Arthur Désilets and Virginie Mercure.
Claire grew up near the St-Clément de Viauville School and Church. She said she had pleasant memories “despite my insignificant talent”. Her family, on both her father and mother’s side, had a number of religious vocations. She also had two sisters in the Missionaries of the Immaculate Conception Congregation, a brother who was a Franciscan and her sister Eva, Marie-Angèle-Virginie, who was in the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.
“Prayer, respect for others, and work well done characterized each member of this closely-knit family.”
After elementary school, Claire entered the workforce as a seamstress. She dedicated herself to this work for eight and a half years before deciding, when she was 25, to enter the SNJM’s, with whom she was very familiar. For this active woman, the novitiate was difficult. For the next fifteen years, Sister Marie-Victorin taught the lower grades at the primary level.
Then there was a turning point. “A year of specialized studies provided me with the methodology to teach what I already knew, sewing! I was very happy during those 14 years: a consistent appointment which put my talent to use”.
With the closing of the home economic schools, Sister Claire was directed to other fields: accounting, running the music books store, maintenance work and library assistant, while sharing community life at Résidence Edouard-Montpetit.
When she was 74 years old, Sister Claire was welcomed to the Motherhouse where she dedicated herself to the “white sewing room” before being admitted into the infirmary when she was close to 85 years old. “Sewing was never a challenge for her; she accomplished everything with excellence.” “Sister Claire carried out her various tasks with a great sense of responsibility.”
In 1991, Sister Claire wrote: “Finally I have found the time to pray, read and reunite with a spouse who has been waiting for me for such a long time. God will cast light on all of this!”