Jubilee on 2009 - Montreal - 75 years
Sister Jeannette Lajeunesse
In Coaticook, where she was born, Jeannette grew into a brave young woman, full of enthusiasm, ready to join her cousins in the Juvenate in Rigaud. It was the reading of the exploits of missionaries in China, Vietnam and Burma that awakened in her the desire to walk in their footsteps.
She became a Novice! In the white livery of this Franciscan troupe, she took every opportunity to prepare herself for her goal: the far away missions! At the printing press as well as in other commitments she developed various abilities. Her journey was also a spiritual one. She combined action and contemplation. If she was accepted for the far away missions, she would be ready for all the risks!
In May 1934, came the happiest day of her life: her destination: China! In those days the boat went via Rome where she was to join other sisters who were also leaving from our Mother House… A month went by in Rome, but Sr. Jeannette, a cheerful, very resourceful woman who had no time to lose, happily undertook the tasks assigned to her and demonstrated ease of adaptation. A day came when it was time for the great adventure by sea to Marseilles, and then to Chendu, her mission.
You should hear Jeannette tell excitedly about her travels and how, with just a few lessons, she learned the Chinese language! She applied herself to pronouncing it as accurately as possible and to having the correct intonation, by lending her attentive ear to the Novices with whom she worked. Inculturation was not easy. Far from her loved ones, she managed wonderfully all the same and even made her perpetual profession in this new land which she eventually called “home”.
In due course, nursing skills were recognized among Sr. Jeannette’s many talents. She was assigned to the clinic and hospital where she cared for the sick. But soon, the obstacles linked to the Communist occupation made life difficult, even painful, with uncertain tomorrows. What did life have in store for them? Fear became part of their lives ...
The Lord saw the anguish of her servant and called her to Macau, then to Hsinchu, Taiwan, where she served with all her heart in a new hospital ... Who can tell all that this strong woman has done for the poorest of the poor! Hats off to you, Sr. Jeannette, for the many small miracles you performed, especially for children!
Finally, in 1983, she returned to Canada. In her heart there remains a wide space reserved for China. Emotions at seeing her family once again were great! Re-adaptation to her country was not easy. Society had changed and so had she…. A sabbatical year seemed very appropriate and was offered to her. She accepted, got back on her feet and was soon seen helping all over with her different talents. She appreciated the spiritual environment of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré; so she devoted herself to many hours of Adoration, and spread the Good News, especially among the Associates.
After some time she was transferred to the infirmary of Montreal, where Christ, who with love, has watched over her for 75 years, still repeats again within her heart: Jeannette, come, follow me!
Jubilee on 2009