Stella Bellefontaine was born in Cheticamp, N.S., on July 27th 1919 in a family that would count nine children. After working at the Cheticamp hospital for several years, at the age of 24, she entered the Novitiate of Trois-Rivières with her twin sister Margaret they became Filles de Jesus on August 4th 1945. Five years later, their youngest sister Agnes also entered the Novitiate and became Fille de Jésus in 1952.
Accompanied by Margaret, Stella first went to Lewistown, Montana, USA, to obtain her R.N. diploma from our Nursing School and then remained there a few years to work at the hospital. From 1950 to 1960, she was assigned to care for the sick in Quebec, three years in Notre-Dame du Lac and seven in Grand’Mère. Then she set out again for Western Canada and worked twenty-four years in Lac Labiche, Alberta. In 1984 she retired from her service at the hospital and devoted her free time to religious education and home care of the sick.
In May 1997, she was struck down with paralysis and had to leave Lac Labiche. The next six years she lived in our communities of Edmonton and Calgary where she received appropriate care. Then in 2003 Stella returned to her home Province after nearly fifty years in the Western Province. Despite her strenuous efforts to fully recover the use of her left leg and arm, she realized after a few years that she would never walk again. This was not easy to cope with! In 2008 she had breast cancer but accepted neither surgery nor treatments, given her physical disability and her age. In February 2010, she moved with our other sick Sisters at Monarch Hall, Riverview.
Stella and Margaret were inseparable twins, each one feeling the emotions, feelings, joys and sufferings of the other. Their mutual love helped them find happiness in whatever life held in store for them. They were strong and courageous women, always present where there was work to do. They also knew how to relax. It was with joy that they collaborated in organizing community celebrations, happy to use their creative imagination and their talents for the common good. They were even part of an orchestra for many years.
The separation was therefore very painful for Stella when Margaret passed away on January 12th 2011. However she managed to live this long and difficult period with the help of her sister Agnes and the surrounding community. Her health condition gradually deteriorated and she suffered almost continuously because of her paralyzed limbs. At about 5:30, Monday evening, April 13th, she peacefully left us to meet the Lord who had loved and called her and whom she had served faithfully throughout all her life. She was 95 years old and a religious for 69 years. May she now enter in the peace and joy God prepared for her!