Franciscan Missionary of Mary
Born in Lac-aux-Brochets, QC
March 8, 1923
Entered the Institute in Quebec
March 15, 1943
Died in Montreal
November 6, 2018
in her 96th year,
the 76th of her religious life
May she rest in the peace of Christ!
Sister Lucille Turenne was born on March 8, 1923 in Lac-aux-Brochets, Laviolette County, Quebec. She was the eldest of 4 children, three girls and one boy. Her grandfather was one of the pioneers who cleared a wooded area without roads. Her father, Aldéus, worked with his father in the logging camps 8 months per year in order to make enough money for the family. Her mother, Estelle Norbert, was a homemaker who oversaw the education of the children. Very early on, Lucille was sent away to boarding school as the family lived in a very remote area. «There was very little money at the time», she states. «Dad paid my studies with firewood».
Very young, she dreamed of becoming a religious. An aunt, who was an acquaintance of Mother Lucienne, got her in touch with the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary at St-Malo, Quebec City. At 18, she simply came to offer her services. The sisters assigned her to the toddlers’ class, recess surveillance, and the animation of the Youth group on Sundays. She worked for two years. As her desire grew, she asked to enter the novitiate and was admitted in September 1943.
After her temporary profession in 1945, she was sent to Montreal. For three years, she was a commissioner going from parish to parish selling our sisters’ handiworks in order to raise money for the community’s needs. She then worked in our daycare there. A gifted teacher, she taught the little ones for 15 wonderful years.
In 1963, she left the country. Her first stop was Rome for the pilgrimage in the steps of Mary of the Passion. This impressed her, as she got a greater understanding of our Institute. In 1964, she arrived in Casablanca, Morocco. She learnt Arabic, got her driver’s license, and worked in the daycares of Casablanca, Oujda, and Rabat. She ran the classes proficiently and saw to the care of the inventory. She wrote in her journal, « 25 years of much patience and love given to the attentive care and education of little ones in our ministry. The heartwarming memories of these years abound and are unforgettable. A child is tomorrow’s adult. »
In 1974, she returned to Canada. She was thrilled to see her family again, especially her sisters, Claire and Agnès, as well as her brother, Damien, and his family. They treated her to small outings and trips.
After some rest, she was the procurator of our convent on Grande-Allée in Quebec City for 4 years. In 1979, she took up the same post in our convent in Montreal. Attentive and generous, she tirelessly oversaw all the material needs. Always with a smile, she answered the requests of the sisters, the boarders, and some sixty children. She then guided the lay staff in replying to all these needs. Montreal never forgot her dedication during 19 years that contributed to the harmony and joy of this huge community.
At 75 with more and more fatigue, she reduced her workload. In 1998, she received her obedience for Ste-Anne-de- Beaupré. With the same love, she fulfilled her role as sacristan and receptionist. Very orderly, she also saw to the linens and immaculate habits of our sisters of the infirmary. Her smile and sense of humour never left her. She won everyone over and her secret resided in the depth of her soul. « I do not put emphasis on doing», she wrote, «but on my conversion and I give myself unreservedly to the Lord, because it is Love that transforms my choices in life for others. »
With the passing years, her body became frailer. In her 80s, she came to a halt along the journey traveled and saw with delight the younger sisters take up the torch. She accompanied them with her friendliness and her sharp wit. In July 2006, feeling weaker and needing medical care, she moved with serenity to our Provincial Infirmary in Montreal. She stayed true to herself as she wandered in the halls sowing good cheer and gratitude for all the services received.
She stated, «I live one day at a time and that day is today! This thought permits me to remain always serene. Handmaid of the Lord, I accept to fully live my life, because I know that God is with me. And I thank Him».
In the final months of her life, she spent some time in the hospital. They tried to heal her without success. She returned home. In her room surrounded by her sisters and the staff, she was astoundingly calm and serene. Until the end, she reflected her moto One day at a time! She passed away peacefully after an extraordinary life of daily ordinary events.
On the evening of her Golden Jubilee, she wrote, «They said that Jesus had done everything well. This is what I strived for throughout all these years in the various tasks entrusted to me… To strive to multiply the talents received by the Lord in work that was often hidden, fulfilled with joy and love of God, of the Institute, of my sisters, and of the children under my care.»
Lucille, our beloved sister, thank you for your serene presence among us. Go, in the peace of the Lord.
Let us rejoice in the Lord,
the present that fills our hearts