Sisters of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin (SASV) Nicolet, Quebec, Canada
“Go and teach all nations, Mt. 28:19 Look toward the Star, call upon Mary”
What is new in our home? The great SASV family
A Joyful Echo from the USA
Our former Assumption Residence in Petersham, Massachusetts is becoming an oasis of hope for many!
On January 26, we, sasvs from Marlboro, MA , were privileged to attend a special breakfast meeting and ribbon- cutting ceremony inaugurating the completion of the first phase of the new Quabbin Retreat. Upon our arrival, the Heywood Healthcare personnel warmly received us with beautiful hand corsages. Sr. Marguerite Normand was invited to give an initial prayer of blessing for over one hundred people in attendance.
The board of trustees and leadership team expressed deep appreciation to our congregation for being faithful stewards of this beautiful property. It is now treasured as a sacred place of hope and healing for the many people of the area who are struggling with addictions and mental health issues. We were especially happy to see the wonderful transformation of the old “east wing” into what is called today
the “Dana Day Treatment Center” open for outpatient care as of this February. In the coming months and years, Quabbin Retreat will continue to grow to include residential intensive inpatient and outpatient services for adults and adolescents.
Marlboro, MA January 26, 2017 Janice Belanger, sasv
A Scholarship in Memory of Sr Cécile Larocque
The Larocque family is proud and happy to share with you that a scholarship in memory of Cécile will be given to a student from the Laurentian University School of Education in Sudbury. Thanks to donations from the Larocque family and friends, a $500 scholarship will be offered, starting this spring, for at least the next ten years. Cécile's warm presence, professional contribution and total dedication during her thirteen
years of involvement with l'École des Sciences, which she loved so much, will be honored with grace and gratitude.
Marie Turcotte Sudbury January 30, 2017
The closing of our mother house
March 31, the closing day of our Mother House is fast approaching. Soon, the main chapel will no longer serve as a place of worship.
On Saturday, March 25, at 4 pm, after the Eucharistic celebration of the Annunciation, Bishop André Gazaille will carry out a “rituel de désacralisation”.
The Congregational Leadership Team, the sisters of the campus, and those from the center of Québec who are able to participate, will be present at this momentous event of our history.
We firmly believe that our Provident God is with us during this difficult time of our Paschal mystery. We invite you to also be with us in a prayerful solidarity and to trust in Him “whose benevolence never fails”.
Madeleine Brochu, sasv For the Leadership Team
Happy birthday Sister Isabelle !
On November 18, our Sister Isabelle Descôteaux from Pavillon Sainte-Marie, celebrated her 110th anniversary. With her, we praise the Lord !
Devoted to Christ through education
From left to right: Sister Herma Martin
Sister Pearl Gaudreau Sister Madeleine Prince
When Sr. Madeleine Prince was growing up in the hamlet of Delmas, Sask. The word « providence » came up often. It was not easy on the farm. There was drought and hail. But her parents had a lot of faith : God would protect and provide for them. Prince first met the Sisters of Assumption as a student at their school in Delmas. However, the government did not want religion or French taught. To avoid detection, the sisters took off their
habits and taught in lay clothes. The cross, of course, could not be put on the wall. So the sisters put a cross on each students'desk. « We were brought up fighting for our rights, » said Prince, 72. Prince decided in high school she wanted to be a sister. « I wanted to continue in that life and to teach others about Christ ». Following the biblical mandate to « Go and teach all nations », the thrust and charism of the Siters of Assumption has been education
especially to the underserved in society.
The French congregation was born out of this need when it was founded in 1853 in Saint Gregoire-le-Grand, Que. At that time in Quebec, only boys were allowed to go to college after grade 8. The only options for young women were to get married or stay in their family home. The congreagation was named » Sisters of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin », after the patroness of the Acadians, by Bishop Thomas Cooke of Trois-Rivières.
The order's mission statement was « With Mary, stake all on God to reveal His love through education ».
Sr Herma Martin, one of six Sisters of Assumption in Edmonton, said the congregation's devotion to Mary comes through Christ's devotion. The spirituality of the Congregation is based on the mystery of the Assumption as a living example of the ultimate accomplishment to which God's providence leads humankind in and through Christ.
Today, the Sisters of Assumption number 368. They had expanded across Canada and to the United States, Japan, Brazil and Ecuador. In 1926, Bishop Vital Grandin invited the Sisters to establish all-girls school, Academie Assomption. The school closed in 1972. The sisters continued to teach across Edmonton. They also expanded their apostolate to careers in nursing, social work, adult education, elderly care and pastoral care.
The sisters see that their mission of helping women and the under-privileged to receive education has largely been attained. The congregation now faces the reality of aging and reduced membership. But they believe their charism will be carried on by others. « There will always be people that need help and there are other vocations that are sprouting up », said Martin. A lot of them come through our schools. We will continue
while we're still there. But our mission, our thrust, is continuing through different means ».
Former convent makes for a unique B&B in Val Marie, gateway to Saskatchewan's Grasslands Park
Bill Graveland, The Associated Pess July 10, 2015. Elizabeth and Jonathan Withey/Edmonton Journal
The dark sky, booming thunder and bright lighting of a fast-moving Prairrie thunderstorm seemed to add to the atmosphere at the Convent Country Inn in tiny Val Marie, Sask.
The convent was opened in 1939, and for decades the Sisters of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary taught the residents of the community, 120 kilometers south of Swift Current. The main part of the bulding was cloistered and the rest was the local high school. After a new public school was built in the 1960s the remaining sisters sold the buildings and it was used as a care home before it was abandoned in 1978.
A week before it was scheduled for demolition, in 1996, it was rescued by Robert Duncan and his son Adam who chance upon the building during a summer vacation. They restored it and turned it into a bed-room and-breakfast a year later. A tiny chapel remains on the second floor along with a confessionnal booth. The 10 rooms are spacious and although not ostentatious in any way, they are comfortable with large beds and armchairs.
Jana Cornoc is the manager of the Convent Inn, as well as the cook, maid and, in a pinch the bellman as well. She said, the inn is mostly full from when it opens in early May until the end of October. Some guests are looking for peace and quiet while others are curious to see what it would like to stay in a convent, and many use it as a stopover on their way to Grasslands National Park.
There are signs of the former occupants everywhere. A large room on the main floor that now serves as a breakfast area and an entertainment room on the second floor still have a wall full of blackboards which contain everything from Bible verses to words of advice.
Val Marie, which now has a population of about 130, was part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and was considered to be in the United States. But in the 1880s the British North American Boundary Commission marked the border between the United States and Canada and Val Marie was placed in Canada.
“ Waiting and hoping for someone else to fix it is not a plan, ” says Heywood Healthcare President and CEO Win Brown. The “it” he's referring to is our communities' dire need for behavioral health and substance abuse services.
To address this need, Heywood Healthcare is purchasing the former residence of the Sisters of the Assumption in Petersham and converting the 21-acre property into The Quabbin Retreat, a comprehensive center for treating patients with mental health and addiction issues.
“Behavioral health and substance abuse services are the number-one health need in North Central and Franklin counties today,” Brown says. “Due to lack of beds, we do not have the capacity to admit 2,500 patients in urgent need of care each year at Heywood and Athol Hospitals – and we're the only provider of inpatient behavioral health services in North Central Massachusetts. The adolescent suicide rate in this area is five times the
state average. And our region's substance abuse rates are soaring.”
“These troubling statistics clearly demonstrate the need,” he continues. “No one is going to come and fix this problem for us. So building on the work we already do to serve people in our region, we have an innovative local solution and the capabilities to implement it.”
This innovative solution is to transform the Petersham property into an 86-bed facility that will provide outpatient, residential and inpatient services for adults and adolescents struggling with behavioral health and substance abuse problems.
To advance the project, Brown and his team held a series of Community Dialogue meetings with Petersham residents at the local library to talk about the project and its impact on their town.
“We averaged 30 to 40 attendees at each meeting,” Brown relates. “Residents have been very supportive overall. There is probably no one who's untouched by addiction or mental illness, either personally or in their families, so they appreciate the need for this type of facility.”
Residents also understand that revitalizing the property will provide new local employment opportunities including wellpaying jobs for healthcare professionals, construction and renovation workers, and administrative and service personnel, Brown notes.
“These new employees also would bolster the community by patronizing local businesses, and renting or purchasing homes and apartments,” Brown adds. “But with its location near Route 2, we believe it will have minimal impact on the town from a services perspective.”
If all goes according to plan, Brown is hopeful that the first stage of services at the new facility will be operational by mid 2016. He explains that the rollout will begin with outpatient care and residential adult addiction services, then expand to the adolescent residential program and inpatient detox unit.
“Our vision for this property is one of positivity and hope for those who desperately need behavioral health and addiction services,” Brown says. “Just like the Sisters who were called to educate generations of children in their schools and care for the aging members of their order in this facility, I believe we're being called to continue that important legacy of service and care in this healing setting.”
“These troubling statistics clearly demonstrate the need. So building on the work we already do to serve people in our region, we have an innovative local solution and the capabilities to implement it.”
Light and compassion
On November 8 and 9, 2014, the Sisters of the motherhouse had the opportunity to live through a moving moment, prayerful and enriching in an evangelical sense. Sister Lucille Peloquin was the facilitator of these graced moments. By means of Sister Lucille's convincing witness, those present had the opportunity to discover and enter into the realities of Residential Schools, in Western Canada. Thus, the Sisters became aware of differences
of opinions among First Nation peoples and the government as well as similar situations in the diocese and religious communities, including our own.
At first listening to the sad history of the First Nation, “Light” dealt with the lived experience of our Sisters ministering amongst these peoples and submitting to governmental demands regarding presence to them. Tears filled our eyes and our hearts were moved toward the other in a deep and profound sense of compassion. It was from a place deep within that we lifted up our prayers as Sr. Lucille invited us to pray with First Nation
peoples in their own language: “Our great God, Father, you are with us as you are in heaven”; “N'otawinan, kitchi kisikok: eyayan”. “Jesus meek and humble of heart”, Hail Mary Star of the Sea, one day I will see you. And God responds: “Listen to me, my people, in spite of all your hurts and anger, do you hear the love that arises from these people whose intentions were good, my missionaries, they truly love you and they cry with
you, they want to be reconciled with you and they ask your forgiveness...”
Throughout this spiritual and historic experience we sensed ourselves participating personally in these events, “in an attitude of reconciliation” with our sisters and brothers of the First Nations and with our SASV sisters of Western Canada, buoyed up by the hope that one day where as sisters and brothers of one Creator we will walk hand in hand into the future. May the God of light and compassion send the Spirit upon all persons
involved in this cause of reconciliation.
From an article that appeared in “Good News”, redacted by Mariette Milot SASV November 2014
New Testament in Atikamekw
On September 2014 in Manawan a New Testament in Atikamekw was launched. The Bible Society of Canada, primary authors of this translation offered two copies to Monique Laliberte SASV. One of the copies will remain in the SASV archives.
In 1998, the project was suspended for a time and then taken up again while Sr. Monique was still ministering pastorally to the First Nation people. This translation was still in process when she retired in 2009. The Sisters of the Assumption through its Hedwidge Buisson Foundation, were amongst the benefactors of these missions.
Two Oblate missionaries, Jacques Laliberte and Denis Grenier, immersed themselves wholeheartedly in this translation. As a collaborator, Sister Monique received at her home in La Tuque, the director of the Atikamew translation team, Andrew Barlow and his American Protestant missionary family.
It is a blessed moment within the life of the Canadian Church when a small group of First Nation people is able to read the Christian Scriptures in their own language. We are proud to have been contributors in this undertaking. This was an immense ecumenical collaboration. The main authors of the work are as follows: The Bible Society of Canada and Wycliffe Society. Many people contributed to the realization of this project including Atikamew
translators and their supervisors. With God's grace they realized this extraordinary translation.
From an article adapted from a “Good News” text redacted by Monique Laliberté SASV in November 2014
It is with joy that I share this news of our sister, Irene Martineau, who will be receiving an honor this Sunday November 29 for her dedicated service to the Church. Cardinal Sean O'Malley will present the Cheverus Award Medal to her and to several laypersons, deacons and religious throughout the archdiocese during a 3:00 p.m. Vespers Service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
The Cheverus award is named after Boston's first bishop, Jean-Louis Lefebvre de Cheverus, who led the diocese from 1808 until his return to France in 1824. Cardinal Sean has said that the purpose of the award is to recognize those whose hidden contributions to the life of the Church over an extended period of time have often gone unnoticed.
Congratulations Irene! We rejoice with you as you receive this medal. With grateful hearts we celebrate your compassionate presence to the Church of Lowell and the many hidden ways you have generously served God's people through the years. We are so proud of you!
Warm congratulations also goes out to Ms. Claire Couillard who will be receiving this award as well!
With love and joyful best wishes,
and your sasv family