Last Updated: Wednesday - 01/05/2011
November 5, 2001
Providence Sisters rejoiced
Group of 30 Western Canadians attended Mother Emilie's beatification
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — Sister Carla Montante met a Jewish lady as she was coming out of St. Peter's Square Oct. 7 after the beatification liturgy for Mother Emilie Gamelin and six other people.
"I just happened to be here and I could see what a grand worship service," said the lady.
"Could you tell me something about it?" she asked Montante.
After Montante's few words the lady told her, "Oh, what a sacred ground I am walking on."
For Montante, that said something about the spirit and atmosphere during this big day for her congregation of Sisters of Providence.
"I found the experience to be very profound. I had the sense of the international Church," Montante told the WCR.
"As you looked out you'd see thousands of people from all over the world that were coming to affirm holiness in different men and women."
Together with some 30 sisters and associates of Providence Sisters from Western Canada, Montante joined in the festive celebration of the beatification of their foundress.
"The highlight for me was after our Holy Father said the word proclaiming the beatification of the seven persons," Montante noted.
They watch the unveiling of the photographs with enthusiasm and excitement.
"There was a sense that my heart could almost expand. It was a very powerful experience. And then you could almost hear the 'Ah! God is good' to have been in the lives of these persons."
It was an experience of celebration for Montante. "(It) was very palpable. You could feel it in the air," she said.
For Eloi DeGrace, Providence Sisters archivist, it was a journey of discovery.
"I just discovered how large the Sisters of Providence family is. I discovered some things that I would not have discovered if I had stayed in (Edmonton)," DeGrace told the WCR.
"I think that everybody was happy to be there and happy to be part or associated to the Sisters of Providence or knowing better Mother Gamelin for that."
When the Holy Father said Blessed Emilie was a woman of compassion and kindness to the poor and the weak, Sister Andrea Arcenault felt proud to be a daughter of Mother Gamelin.
"After this, . . . Mother Gamelin doesn't belong just to us; she belongs to the whole world now, because of her compassion, her kindness and devotion to the poor," Arcenault said.
"It was very tiring as it was a very hot day. We were just about baked. We went there very early and we left after one in the afternoon, but it was all worth it."
"There was an atmosphere of jubilance and everybody was noisy at the reception," Arcenault said.
John Lynch, an associate of the Providence Sisters, felt at home in the midst of sisters, with whom he grew up.
When he first came to Edmonton from Montreal and saw a listing for the Providence Sisters, he told his wife that he wanted to see if that was the same congregation of sisters who schooled him and in whose hospital he was born.
"I felt at home when I found out it was the same sisters, and I had exactly the same feeling in Rome," Lynch said.
The festivities and celebrations were done, but for the sisters and their associates the event calls for a new challenge in their ministry.
"The first challenge that I hear is that we need to be authentic daughters, associates, collaborators and friends of Mother Gamelin," said Montante.
"Because the Church has recognized her, so too in our imitating her life, we need to attend deeply to the marginalized, the poor, the weak as Blessed Emilie did in her life."
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