Celebration of a centenarian

Wednesday, February 20th was an exceptional day at the Vice-Provincial House of the Daughters of Jesus of Rimouski: our sister Béatrice Ouellet was celebrating her 100th birthday. Sister Jeanne D’Arc Dubé summarized for us the exceptional journey of this woman who at 100 years old still never ceases to amaze us.

 

Celebrating a century of life

 

Throughout her life Béatrice has always been noted for her serenity. For 79 years she was guided by our charism: «Jesus in his humanity». Looking at her life with a heartfelt gaze, we admire this woman who set out at 21 years old to follow Jesus on his paths of humanity and humanization, allowing herself to be humanized and thereby to humanize others in all simplicity.

 

Her Mission

 

For 36 years, Béatrice dedicated herself in the teaching profession at the elementary level, in Three Rivers and Témiscouata. (Quebec, Canada).

 

Belonging to an International Congregation

 

Belonging to an International Congregation she was privileged to serve abroad from 1948 -1954. She worked in Paris, France, where she adapted to different habits, customs and culture as well as to the Parisian French. There, she was assigned to the service of young women and later on at a Day Care centre for children at Le Château, in Pontivy. She then returned to her home country and was given the opportunity to follow various pedagogical sessions and was certified with the necessary diplomas to pursue her teaching career at the primary level according to the Quebec Network of Education.

 

A time of spiritual renewal

 

After her teaching career, she followed renewal courses during a doctrinal year which, to her say, was very enriching and appreciated. Following this spiritual experience, she returned to the small parish of St Francis-Xavier at Viger in 1968. Excellent teacher, educator esteemed by all in the village, and being still full of energy, she was invited to supervise the teaching of the Sacraments of Initiation for the 8 to 12 year olds. For many more years she supervised the formation of catechists for the Riou School Committee.

With competence, she helped parents to become aware of their responsibility as the first educators of their children’s faith.

 

A busy retirement

 

Retired since 2001 at the Vice-Provincial House in Rimouski, Béatrice pursues her day to day journey of prayer: rosary, visits to the Blessed Sacrament as well as her faithful participation in the Eucharist. With serenity, she asks for the grace to do the will of God so as to live her mission to the very end. We cannot forget to mention her favorite pastime: reading. We practically always find her comfortably seated in a rocking chair in the community room, reading an exciting story, her walker tucked to the arm of the chair…

 

Celebrating Béatrice’s long life

 

We must recognize that Béatrice faced the trials and difficulties of life with courage… focused on the ONE to whom she had given her life. Therefore, we began this centennial feast with a festive Eucharistic celebration. The Sisters of the Vice-Province of Rimouski were happy to be present. The Mass was prepared by the liturgical committee of 7… a biblical number. The chapel was beautifully decorated for the event and the celebration was focused on thanksgiving:

  • For Béatrice’s commitment in the Congregation
  • For her witness to hundreds of young people
  • For love received and shared at community and parochial levels.

Hymns and sacred music resonated throughout the chapel. Moreover, our chaplain, Jacques Côté, was able to say in modern language what our centenarian experienced over the years …without canonizing her here and now! Naturally, Béatrice received Holy Communion under both species. After the final blessing, Fr. Jacques congratulated her and offered his best wishes along with a loving hug. We then sang our traditional hymn followed by a loud applause.

 

The celebration continued

 

On leaving the chapel, we were invited by Solange Mailloux to sip a champagne which was followed by a delicious meal prepared by our dedicated staff. The dining room tables, artistically decorated by the digital fingering of Marielle Hébert, highlighted the joyful and festive atmosphere. Sr. Lucienne, our Vice-Provincial, addressed the centenarian and offered in the name of all the sisters a tribute of admiration with the following words: «Dear Beatrice, your very presence is a blessing. You have understood that mission is not only about DOING but especially about BEING. May the Lord grant you many more blessings! Happy Centennial! »

This has been a memorable day… we will never forget this February 20th 2019… As the French song says «On n’a pas tous les jours 100 ans!» (It is not every day that someone is 100 years old!). For Béatrice and all of us it has been a day filled with joy and thanksgiving! 100 years! … an achievement that will continue to nourish our casual conversations!

Jeanne d’Arc Dubé, fj. Rimouski, Canada

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