"And I will take you for my wife for ever; I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy.” (Hosea 2. 21)
March 8, 2017, Sister Florence Tancrède,
in religion Marie-Jeanne-de-la-Croix,
went home to God.
She was 93 years old and had been professed for 66 years.
Born in Ste-Croix de Lotbinière, Quebec,
she was the 6th of the 12 children
of Delphis Tancrède and Alice Bélanger.
On her return from school one day, Florence hurried to share with her mother the wonderful discovery she had made: "Eternity means always, time immemorial; the teacher told us that Jesus loves us for all eternity. This means that he loves us forever and ever!” God’s grace was in action as Florence went from the rural school to boarding school and then to the École normale for teacher training, which was under the direction of the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame.
Having received her teaching diploma, she taught for 5 years in her parish. She knew the CNDs and yet it was through her memories of a friend from the École normale speaking to her about the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, that she asked to enter the SNJM Novitiate to become a Sister.
During the first 13 years, Sister Jeanne-de-la-Croix taught at various schools in Montreal and on the South Shore. She also directed the JEC (Jeunesse étudiante catholique – young Catholic students). As the director of students at Collège Jésus-Marie and later at École normale de St-Lambert, Sister Florence demonstrated her openness and her talents as an educator of students in the upper grades.
After having experienced a ministry of hospitality while living with a small group of Sisters, she accepted to be Superior at the Boarding School in Longueuil. This marked the beginning of a new phase in Sister Florence's life - that of leadership service to her Sisters. For 33 years, either at the local or provincial level, she was responsible for animating and organizing life in Longueuil, at the Motherhouse, Collège Durocher, Valleyfield, Verchères, Ste-Martine and Ste-Émélie. These years were times of change and restructuring.
"Sister Florence was known for her dynamism, her clear sightedness, her capacity for innovation, her convincing tenacity for the spiritual advancement and the joyful life of those entrusted to her care.” "Sister Florence spoke in a manner that was clear, challenging and stimulating."
When she was 81 years old and for several more years, Sister Florence helped, supported and listened to her sick or elderly companions at Maison Jésus-Marie. When her capacities began to diminish, she pursued her life of intimacy with God, ready to meet Him face to face.