Sr. Marie Trepanier
1924 – 2011
Sister Marie Trépanier was born Marie-Gemma Aldérie Trépanier on November 19, 1924, daughter of Arthur Trépanier and Albertine Tardif; her birthplace was the municipality of St. Hubert of Spaulding (now Audet) in the province of Québec, Canada.
Marie-Gemma crossed the ocean to enter the novitiate of the Marianites of Holy Cross in Précigné, France, on September 7, 1948, when she was almost twenty-four years old. At her reception of the holy habit, Marie-Gemma was given the name Sister Mary Luke. She made temporary vows at Précigné on March 19, 1950, before returning to her native Canada. She pronounced perpetual vows at Our Lady of Holy Cross Hospital in Mont Laurier, Canada on September 26, 1953.
Most of Sister’s ministries found her working in the kitchen and/or with the ill and the elderly. She began her professed life assisting the cook and later as a nurse’s aide in Mont Laurier. In the late sixties Marie ministered at the hospital in Magog where she also studied nursing. Marie continued nursing for almost twenty years at St. Jospeh Hospital in Lac Mégantic. Whether in the hospital or helping out in the kitchen and in health care, Marie loved music and enjoyed participating in the parish choir.
Following a sabbatical year in Montreal and her retirement from active ministry, Marie worked doing the cooking and helping out wherever she was needed at the Marianite convent on Rue Morrisson in Lac Mégantic. The last three years of her life were spent in the infirmary of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary in Sherbrooke.
One of the sisters there wrote to the Marianites following Marie’s death:
“She lived with us for three good years and we had time to get attached to her. For several months, her quality of life was not great, but she remained very aware of all that was going on, of those who surrounded her, etc. On the Friday before she died, Sister was still able to be with us repeating her usual words, ‘Sweet Heart of Jesus, pray for us . . . Sweet heart of Mary, pray for us . . .’ She lived her last hours in peace and calm . . . she was already in the arms of her God.”
The Marianites thanked the Sisters in Sherbrooke and their personnel “who accompanied Sister with a delicacy and exemplary compassion until her death on March 6, 2011.”
Sister’s wake service was held in Lac Mégantic and the funeral Mass was celebrated on Friday, March 11 at St. Agnes Church where Sister Marie had attended daily Mass for many years. The funeral was both beautiful and simple. The altar servers cross and candle bearers were all hospital employees who had worked with Sister Marie.
In his homily, Father used the first letter of St. John which invites us to love, not only with words but by our acts and in truth. He said, “Sr. Marie knew how to manifest concretely her love in many ways. She believed in God’s love and prepared herself during her whole life for her final meeting with him. The gospel tells us that each time we help our neighbor, we are in relationship with God. For Marie, each time that she welcomed, fed, dressed or loved someone who needed her, it was the Lord himself that she cared for. In addition to the hours and days she spent at the hospital, we must add the many meals she prepared for her sisters at the convent. Born in the country, Sister continued gardening and loved the beauties of nature.
“Why did Sister Marie do all that she did? Because she loved God who is love, Marie loved the Lord in the weakest and feeblest. Nothing of that has been lost today. This is the baggage with which she presents herself before God. Her witness can still inspire us today. Marie chose to love when she chose to follow Christ. It was thus that she chose to welcome life. Because you have loved, Sister Marie, we know that you have moved from death to life. Enter the garden of the Lord where you will continue to cultivate love.”
The choir, of which she had been a member for a number of years, sang hymns that Marie loved, including ‘Ave Maria’ and ‘Set a new place at your table.” Sister’s body was interred in the parish cemetery at Lac Mégantic. She is survived by siblings, nieces, nephews and a large family who loved her.
May Sister Marie rest in peace!