Reminiscing about Sainte-Émélie

During a presentation by Sister Pierrette Désilets, on October 6th, the Sisters at Maison Jésus-Marie had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the history of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary’s (SNJM) long journey in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve-Mercier neighborhood, and more particularly at Sainte-Émélie.

Recapturing the symbolism of the rose, that had been unveiled during the celebration of gratitude at Residence Sainte-Émélie, Sister Désilets travelled back in time to 1900, to talk about this seed that produced the Sainte-Émélie Convent.

As a result, she was able to recall the various missions carried out in the neighborhood by the Sisters, as well as the convent’s multiple vocations. Sequentially, it became a boarding school, Sainte-Marie-des-Anges Normal School, a primary school and then a residence for the elderly sisters. However, its mission did not end there if we consider the many apostolates that emerged from this house and the Sisters’ enthusiasm at meeting the needs of the milieu.

Accordingly, Sister Pierrette recalled the evolution of numerous projects including collective kitchens, the "Popotte roulotte" (Meals on Wheels), the Carrefour familial Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, the Garden Center, the literacy groups to teach French to Laotian, Cambodian, and other refugees, not to mention the many contributions made by the Sisters, who used their talents for knitting, sewing and for the arts, and who also provided support for the missions in Africa and Haiti.

In short, it was a great opportunity to reflect on the importance of this institute in the history of the Congregation, especially on this the Feast Day of Mother Marie-Rose. 

In conclusion, we are reminded that the symbolism of the rose, the petals of which were used to introduce each stage of the life of Residence Sainte-Émélie, was a concept developed by Sister Pierrette Désilets, and her niece who helped her to assemble this beautiful rose.

Photo credit: Sister Gisèle Lalande