Sr. Yvette Renaud, a Sister of Providence from Montreal, tells us all about the grand celebration of the Sisters of Our Lady of Seven Dolors. It was quite the tribute and party to celebrate a wonderful ministry.
For this beautiful celebration, on March 27, we were able to count on the presence of several guests, including the SNDD sisters: Fernande Thibault, Bernadette Pelletier, Georgette Leduc and Micheline Veilleux; the sisters of the SP General Leadership Team: Karin Dufault, Rollande Malo, Hortense Demia-Mbaïlaou, Josefina (Josie) Lerios, Nancy Arévalo and Annette Noël; and SNDD Associates: Dominique Lemay, Louise Tremblay, Gisèle Gauthier (with her friend Carole Blais), Jeanne-Mance Éthier, and a friend Associate, Mrs. Henriette Léveillé (accompanied by her husband). Thérèse Pelletier, my great friend and interpreter of S. M. Veilleux, was present as well as Paul Lebœuf, chaplain to the deaf; Claire Houde, SP, superior of the Émilie-Gamelin Province; Céline Brousseau, SP, the former superior of the SNDD, and about thirty Sisters of Providence who have worked with the deaf at the Institution.
During this meeting, everyone shared memories while observing the decorations that came from the Institution of the Deaf-Mutes: three large drawings of the Prodigal Son (Gospel of the day) made by the members of the pastoral team, including Mrs. Henriette. There were also posters, photos, frames, pots, flowers, banners, antique tables, albs, etc.
During the procession, we had the beautiful surprise of seeing Dominique (SNDD Associate) in an antique alb (lace helm) holding the banner of the “Congregation of the Children of Mary, Institution of the Deaf-Mutes” and Father Paul in an old-time alb, hand-embroidered by an SNDD. After hanging the banner next to that of “The League of the Sacred Heart, Institutions of the Deaf-Mute,” Dominic put on the “black biretta.” He said and signed: “I am Canon Trepanier.” All applauded.
A tribute: Sister Karin welcomed everyone, especially the SNDD and the associates. She paid them a beautiful tribute and congratulated them. Sister Yvette proceeded with a “quiz” to recall the founder, Canon FX Trépanier, the patron saint, St. Francis de Sales, and the patroness, Our Lady of Good Counsel. The question was: what is the link that unites us?
The festive mass Song: Let us celebrate the call, it comes from God, for our happiness, he has chosen us. Let us celebrate the call, it comes from God, to serve the world and his Church.
Father Paul began the mass offered for the deaf people, especially SNDD Sisters. Dominique read the epistle in sign language, and Sister Yvette Renaud, SP, read it aloud. The antiphon from the psalm was perfect for the celebration: “Taste and see that the LORD is good.” After reading the Prodigal Son Gospel, Father Lebœuf delivered a short homily. The offertory was sung and signed by all the assistants who were touched by the words of the song Les mains ouvertes (Open Hands). At the end of the Mass, everyone sang: “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, eternal is his love.”
A friendly meal followed: a vin d’honneur was served, and there was a toast, followed by a delicious hot lentil soup (provided by the kitchen) with a hearty cold lunch, a gift from the Providence Community that members of the General Leadership Team served at the tables. We were warned: “Hold on to your forks, the best is yet to come.” Here is the surprise! Two beautiful cakes well decorated with the SNDD logo and the statuette of Our Lady of Sorrows, served with a good cup of coffee, offered by the General Leadership Team. The cake was meant to extend the celebration to the real date of the founding of the SNDD Congregation, April 1st. We ate it on March 31 in the company of Gisèle Routhier, SP.
Other surprises awaited us: a logo bookmark, with, on the back, Our Lady of Sorrows (photo of the statue in the chapel of our former residence in l’Assomption). In addition, the General Leadership Team offered gifts to the SNDD, and some SP gave them envelopes. In the end, we had the joy of watching the slide show of the SNDD, a gift from Father Paul. Such beautiful memories!
What a wonderful day! Thanks to the Lord! Thank you all!
N.B. The associates seem to have enjoyed their day, as they are asking to repeat it on June 9, the feast of Sister Fernande Thibault, s.n.d.d. Probably with a smaller number of people!
*A congregation formed exclusively by deaf women whose Congregational Leader is currently Sister Karin Dufault, also Congregational Leader of the Sisters of Providence.
Barbara McMullen, CDP