“Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and do not forget all his benefits.” Ps103
April 25, 2014, Sister Claudia Lepage
in religion Alfréda-Marie,
went home to God.
She was 98 years old and had been professed for 78 years.
Born in Ormstown, (Châtauguay) Québec, on April 21, 1916, and baptized on the 23rd, in Saint-Malachie d’Ormstown Church.
She was the 8th of 15 children
of Alfred Lepage and Corona Dandurand.
After completing her primary grades at the “local schoolhouse”, Claudia had to remain at home to help her mother, taking care of the household and the grocery store, while her father worked outside the home, as a contractor in construction.
Sister Claudia wrote: “I spent my happiest years within this close-knit Christian family. My parents always set an example for prayer.”
When she was about 12 years old, Claudia sensed an initial attraction to religious life. When she was 16, this desire was reawakened with the arrival of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in Ormstown. A little later, she attended a closed retreat which was being offered to the graduates from École Normale in Valleyfield.
Jesus’ words, meditated upon during a Way of the Cross:
“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Mt. 16, 24, motivated her to finalize her decision: because for Claudia, “to follow Jesus was to respond to the call to religious life.”
On October 22, 1933, when she was seventeen and a half years old, she entered the SNJM novitiate, in Outremont.
Among the houses which benefitted from Sister Claudia’s talents, were the convents of Hochelaga, Mont-Royal, Beloeil, Ormstown and Valleyfield. For 46 years, her responsibilities included the duties of refectorian, cook, assistant in the infirmary, housekeeper and other services as needed. “She was consistently welcoming, grateful and helpful to visitors. Her warm personality and willingness to please endeared her to her companions."
In 2003, she was admitted into the infirmary in Outremont; in 2005, at the time of the sale of the Motherhouse, she moved to our new infirmary in Longueuil for long-term care.
In some notes left behind by Sister Claudia, we read: “My life may seem to be uneventful, I simply responded to the tasks assigned to me and I lovingly attended daily Mass, prayed the rosary and the Way of the Cross. That was my way of following Jesus and I was happy in responding to this call.”
We assure her sister, Sister Corona, also a Sister of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, of our support and our prayers. Sister Claudia has gone to sing the praises of the Lord close to Him and with Him.