The Sisters from Maison Jésus-Marie were treated to an extraordinary recital on March 8. In fact, in the presence of their mother Youkari Morgante and their grandmother, Mary Chouinard, a well known poet, Floria (7 years old), Lélia (6 years old) and Dalia (3 years old) gave their recital in the community rooms on the main floor (Pavillon St-André) and on the second floor (Pavillon Saint-Charles).
You just had to see the seriousness of these three young sisters, each of whom played a different musical instrument (cello, piano and violin). The trio interpreted a number of pieces some of which are well known such as “Marie a un petit mouton/Mary had a little lamb” and “Ah vous dirai-je maman”.
They also played classical pieces such as “Allegretto 1” by Czerny, “Chœur des chasseurs” by Weber and “Les deux Grenadiers” by Schumann.
To see these girls at such a young age playing with such aplomb, filled the Sisters present with joy. They were attentive to the performance and were swept along by the enthusiasm and joy of these three sisters who are receiving arduous formation.
Beside the courses given by experienced teachers, the three girls benefit from the unconditional support of their mother, who, every evening, makes them practice. The latter, an engineer by profession, who holds a management position at Hydro-Québec, supports them in their love for music.
Some of the Sisters present, having taught music in the past, acknowledged the need for long hours of learning before eventually embarking on a musical career. They were well aware of the great effort that these three young girls have made to improve their skills and talents, as well as their mother’s devotion.
This wonderful performance brought a lot of joy and pleasure to the hearts of all the Sisters, on this March 8, International Women's Day.
“A Toast to Life” was the theme of this year’s Celebration of the Birthdays of the Sisters and Associates of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM). This annual festive and inspiring event was held at Maison Jésus-Marie on February 10th.
To set the tone for this party, all the participants received an inspirational message about life and a booklet with songs, upon their arrival.
The program was designed to celebrate with song and dance; to share on life experiences based on a text and phrases that had been provided, and to enjoy the festive refreshments.
Mr. Gerry Gauthier, who was entrusted with managing the social aspect, succeeded in getting everyone to sing along using the provided booklets and to dance to well-known music. There was an energy in the air ... resounding in laughter and joy.
Reading Joeliah's text, entitled "Life is Luck", paired with individual messages, served as a catalyst for lively, incessant and enthusiastic sharing. It's easy to become immersed in the mood with this phrase: "... life is what we make of it, every thought, every word comes back to you, be aware of what you are conveying ...” You can read the full Pdf text of the reflection (In French only)
Refreshments were served simultaneously in the different dining rooms in the house. This promoted sharing between the Sisters living at Maison Jésus-Marie and those from elsewhere in Quebec.
To see the joyful expressions on the participants’ faces at the end of the afternoon, says a lot about the happiness experienced during this wonderful party. A huge success by the organizing committee led by Sisters Claudette Bastien, Suzanne Brault, Pierrette Désilets and Léa Dulude.
A group of poets came to present their poetic creations to the Sisters at Maison Jésus-Marie on February 13th. To the delight of the Sisters living there, the poetic gathering took place in the various community rooms.
This original activity has always been very appealing to the Sisters. This type of presentation puts them in touch with the concerns of today’s world. Through their poems, members of the group share their thoughts about their families, their loves, nature, and many other topics that inspire them to want to learn more.
As was pointed out by the new literary association, poets play an important role in society. "They sing of life, they sing of love and sparks of light spring forth from their pens." It was in this spirit that the group participated in this activity.
The poets included Johanne Bissonnette, Michel Lebreton, Philippe Robitaille, Jean-Guy Giguère, Hélène Viens and Rose Lévesque, the foundress of this new association.
A twenty-page collection of poems was given to each Sister present. The focus on this new literary circle has been greatly appreciated by the Sisters. The session ended with a discussion period during which light refreshments were offered by the Recreation Committee. It was a great opportunity to share impressions and to engage in friendly conversation.
We are reminded that this activity has taken place four years in a row, and given the interest shown each time, we can only assume that it will be back next year. In the meantime, the young literary association, known as "Les Amis de la Poésie de Longueuil", offers a place for budding poets to share their views. Through monthly meetings, members are invited to talk about their creations and meet other artists who have already published some of their poems.
Photos - Sister Gisèle Lalande
Behind the magnificent piano recital given by Jean Saulnier, at Maison Jésus-Marie, on February 11th, there is a story that is worth telling.
M. Saulnier’s 15 year-old daughter, Adèle, was in a group that took part in a school trip to Guatemala for humanitarian reasons. To raise funds to finance her trip, she succeeded in convincing her father to give a recital to which relatives and friends would be invited.
The links between this Professor for the Faculty of Music at the Université de Montréal and Sister Maryse Moisan, a member of the Recreation Committee for Maison Jésus-Marie, made it possible to implement this idea in the form of a recital given in the chapel, whose acoustics are extolled by all the musicians.
In front of a packed audience, Jean Saulnier, winner of numerous awards in national and international competitions, presented a varied repertoire. Moving from Mozart's sonata "K310 in A Minor", to Debussy "Images 2e série", he continued his recital with Ravel “Jeux d’eau” and "Une barque sur l'océan" drawn from 'Miroirs' before returning to Debussy with Images "1ère série".
In addition to the remarkable performance by Jean Saulnier, who is recognized as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher, the audience was treated to a magical moment at the very end of the concert. Still at the piano, the father accompanied his daughter Adèle, on the cello, to interpret "Vocalises" by Rachmaninoff.
The entire audience was delighted by this magnificent concert given with all the talent and musicality of the Grand Master, who has recorded many major works from the chamber music repertoire.
Mr. Saulnier again expressed the desire to come and present his students in concert in preparation for their end-of-session exams at the Université de Montréal, at the end of April and the beginning of May. It is an event not to be missed.
On February 20, about twenty Sisters took part in a bean bag toss tournament. Regardless of physical condition and degree of expertise, everyone was invited to this fun-filled activity, organized by the Recreation Committee from Maison Jésus-Marie.
The main objective was to have fun and to encourage the participation of as many as possible. You just had to see the players getting themselves into position, tossing the bean bag and deriving great pleasure participating in this group activity.
During this Olympics year, the tournament produced three champions, namely the three Sisters who had accumulated the most points.
They were Sister Marie-Claire Morin with 4900 points, followed by Sister Olivette Blais, who at the grand old age of 99 and still counting, accumulated 2600 points and Sister Lise Geoffrion who completed the winning trio, with 1900 points.
As was aptly pointed out by one of the organizers of the activity, “age is no obstacle to participation.”
Photos: Sister Gisèle Lalande
A delightful musical and cultural adventure with the theme "The Romantic Keyboard" took place at Maison Jésus-Marie, on January 21. Lorraine Prieur and Claudine Lapointe, pianists and Luc Saucier, bass and narrator presented a varied and enchanting concert with performances for Solo Piano, Piano 4-Hands and sung lieder*.
These three renowned artists have combined their talents for this particular performance combining narration and music. On the program, Frédéric Chopin (Study Op. 35, No. 7 and Prelude Op. 28 No. 15), Robert Schumann (In der Fremde), Johannes Brahms (Waltzes Op. 39 Nos. 1, 2, 3.15 for Piano 4-Hands), Anton Dvorak (Slovanic Dances: Dumka Op. 72 No. 2 - Piano 4-Hands) and Franz Schubert (Der Wanderer Op. 4, Der Lindenbaum (Winterreise), Fantasy in F minor Op. 103 - Piano 4-Hands).
Those in attendance literally fell under the spell of these unforgettable works, performed by professional artists in complete mastery of their art. The idea of presenting short narratives to discover the life of these composers from the romantic era, combined with musical performances, pleased everyone.
Well known to the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM), Lorraine Prieur and Luc Saucier pursued their respective careers while directing the School of Music and Calligraphy "The Montée des Arts" in Mont Saint-Hilaire. Both are former SNJM students.
Claudine Lapointe, who has perfected her knowledge with Lorraine Prieur, is active in teaching, interpretation and composition.
*Source: Wikipedia - The lied, plural lieder is a setting of a German poem to classical music sung by one voice and accompanied by one piano or an instrumental ensemble.
Photos - Sister Gisèle Lalande
With humor and much enthusiasm, Sister Esther Champagne of the Institut Notre-Dame du Bon-Conseil de Montréal, led her audience on a journey through time during her presentation on Friday, January 19. Invited as part of the series of lectures on the Discovery of other Religious Congregations, presented at Maison Jésus-Marie, Sister Champagne provided a comprehensive overview of this congregation founded by Marie Gérin-Lajoie in 1923.
At 82 years old, Sister Esther has lost nothing of her wit and her memory! She maintained the interest of those who attended by integrating numerous anecdotes into her one-hour presentation. This was a feat to be emphasized especially given the fact that she imbued enthusiasm for their respective commitments, into all those present.
Painting a vibrant portrait of her institute, Sister Esther first focused on presenting the charism of dedication to social action in all its forms: "Accompanying families, young people, immigrants in a constantly evolving Quebec and in a Church open to the world.”
Marie Gérin-Lajoie had the vision of creating a community of "women motivated by the desire to serve God and by a thirst for greater justice" and on the basis of this vision "through an intense spiritual life combined with a knowledge of the world and with action, would endeavor to bring Christian truths within the context of our contemporary way of thinking.”
The name Notre-Dame du Bon-Conseil had special significance for its foundress. She therefore made a connection between the gifts of the Holy Spirit received by the Virgin Mary at Pentecost and the demands of an apostolic vocation.
“Counsel is an aspect of practical wisdom which is indispensable in life. The gift of counsel brings an inner light that is fast and furious: The Holy Spirit speaks to the heart and leads us to choose what we must say and do”, she emphasized.
Today, the congregation continues to be involved in a variety of works with everyone working actively for a culture of peace through the organization Centre de formation sociale Marie-Gérin-Lajoie, established by the Institute in 1996. Its role is to promote the commitment of responsible citizens with the goal to work against injustice and violence in all its forms.
Photos - Sister Gisèle Lalande