CASA, an organization that offered literacy programs to immigrants, responded to the needs of numerous immigrants in Quebec for almost 25 years. Competent teams of directors, sensitive to the experience of newly-arrived immigrants, along with groups of teachers, mostly members of religious communities, generously invested their time and talents throughout those years. They were an “educative presence” promoting the learning of the French language, both spoken and written.
When Centre CASA opened in 1991, Sister Gilberte Comeau, SSA, its foundress, served as Director. Madame Thérèse Messier succeeded her and continued the development of programs until December, 2013. Sister Lise Bluteau, SNJM, then took charge until its closing in June, 2016. From the very beginning, SNJM sisters were committed to this project. Sisters Lise Geoffrion and Thérèse Bibeau were the first, beginning in 1992. Several others followed: Sister Carmen Leduc for 3 years, Sister Liliane Bourdeau for 2 years, Sister Denise Mercier for 15 years and Sister Lorraine Beauchamp for 4 years. Sister Magella Cadorette continues to give advanced lessons to a student from CASA.
The inestimable contribution of directors, who had faith in the relevance of this project and who demonstrated such extraordinary zeal, brought life and happiness to all at the Centre. By gradually establishing a trusting relationship between the personnel and the immigrants, the latter led the personnel to discover the richness of each immigrant, with his/her values, motivation, and already-existing talents and abilities.
To promote the integration of people recently accepted into Quebec, many cultural activities were organized within, as well as outside, the CASA building. The outings prepared by the teachers led to the discovery of many significant sites: a visit to the office of the Mayor of Montreal, a trip to Quebec City including a guided tour of Parliament, and recreational trips to a sugar shack.