WORDS OF REMEMBRANCE
Sœur Cécile Dupuis, fj ( Sœur Marie Louise-Gertrude)- Le 31 juillet 2015
Cécile was the first-born child of Henri Dupuis and Clara Sylvestre. Born prematurely on November 5, 1918, at home during the influenza period, neither she nor her mother were expected to live. They did. Cécile had always considered the gift of life a personal favour God granted her. Her parents had six more children: Émilien, Gertrude, Jeannette, Arthur, Léo and Louise.
Cécile attended Notre Dame Convent in Morinville from grade I to XI. In 1935 she entered the Noviciate in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, for her religious training and took her first vows in 1937 with the name Sister Marie Louise-Gertrude.. She was sent to Normal School in Truro, Nova Scotia and then taught and pursued her studies in the Maritimes. She received her BA from the University of Antigonish in 1944.
Cécile was asked to be part of the religious training for girls entering the Novitiate. She served in that capacity from 1948 – 1961 in Trois-Rivières. QC, and in Rogersville and Moncton, N.B. She was an asset in this function; being bilingual, she was able to help those who were not so familiar with the French language.
In 1961, she came back to Alberta and after having taught in Pincher Creek and Vimy, she was named Provincial for our western province from 1965 – 1971. She then went to our mission in St. Kitts, West Indies where she taught as well as helping out in the finance department.
Having returned to Alberta, from 1980 to 2000 she became the first full-time Archivist of the Archdiocese of Edmonton. At that time the situation of the archives was deplorable to a point of non-existence. Cécile took the dilapidated archives from the basement of the cathedral and brought them up to par to an efficient and recognized office of the archdiocese. I quote Josée Marr, Vice-Chancellor of the Archdiocese: “Cécile created the first indexes to the historic records of the Archdiocese, compiled the first histories of the bishops, parishes, priests and women religious – histories that are still referenced by Archive staff today. Nearly every file prior to 1960 in the Archives contains one of Sister Cécile’s handwritten notes detailing its contents. While she may be gone, her legacy lives on in the Archives”.
After leaving the Archives, Cécile volunteered at the Learning Center, teaching English as a second language. She continued this till she retired in 2006. As her health diminished and she needed more care, she became a resident at the Jubilee Lodge in 2013. That is where she passed away on July 25, 2015.
Cécile was a very generous, prayerful, committed and accountable disciple. She was considerate, thoughtful, humble, hospitable, available and full of wisdom, always wanting to serve. She was a fantastic teacher, ready for challenges, creative and artistic. She loved her family, her religious congregation, the Church and in the last two years of her life Pope Francis had a special place in her heart. Her room was decorated with pictures of Pope Francis and she read everything she could find in the papers or books on him.
Cécile loved to read. She loved music and although she could not play the piano, she could read music and loved to sing. She took part in the Senior Choir at Assumption church as well as Melodies d’Amour. Cécile also had talent for drawing, painting, calligraphy, drama, embroidery, knitting and crocheting. Many are the pieces she made for the poor.
In 1998 Cécile wrote: “My desire is to continue to live the last part of my life in peace, love, respect and compassion for and toward all fellow-beings, convinced that the divine Presence in me will help me to recognize Him in the events and persons coming to me or asking of me a love and self-emptying response to His calls.”
We will miss you, Cécile. This passage of 2 Timothy 4:6-7 can rightly be applied to you.
“The time of my departure has come.
I have fought the good fight.
I have finished the race.
I have kept the faith.”
May God enfold you in God’s love and may you rest in peace.
Georgine Morin, fj