The love of Christ impels us to manifest His tenderness and love.
Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres
BRIEF HISTORY OF OUR FOUNDATION
To Bishop Alphonse Gaudron, Ecclesiastical Superior of the Sisters of St.Paul de Chartres from 1922 to 1930, belongs the honor of having the idea of a foundation in Canada to recruit missionary vocations for the various missionary endeavors of the Congregation.
At the General Chapter of 1923, he submitted the plan, but the time had not yet come for its realization ... Providence was preparing in the shadows those who, at the appropriate time, would serve its purposes. At the next Chapter in 1929, he repeated his request and this time the project received the support of the Capitulants under Mother St. Barthélémy, who had been elected Superior General.
It is therefore right to say that Msgr. Gaudron was the sponsor and promoter of the Canadian foundation. However, in August 1930, he was appointed bishop of Evreux. The departure from Chartres of this sure guide and support for the emerging work was deeply affected, but God was watching ...
With keen interest, he did not cease to lose interest in the Canadian foundation and followed with joy its prodigious expansion, providing advice and encouragement to those who assumed the growth of the mustard seed.
We owe our religious gratitude to His Excellency, Msgr. Alphonse Gaudron.
Msgr. Alphonse Gaudron
Sir Henry Charlotin, originally from Britain, came to settle in Canada after the War of 1914-1918. Sister Marie-Thimothée, his sister, had written to him from France, asking him to take care of Mother Louise-Amélie and Sister Angèle de St-Pierre upon their arrival in Québéc. The letter had taken the same boat ``Empress of France``, but did not arrive in time. Upon receipt of the letter from her sister-in-law, Mme. Charlotin phoned all the convents and communities of Québéc to see if the French Sisters had been received. After many negative responses, Mme. Charlotin finally learned that, indeed, at the the Convent of Bellevue, two French nuns had been received.
Sir Charlotin immediately went to meet them and became their devoted intermediary from the very beginning. One of his first thoughts was: ``We need to let you know that it is necessary for the religious and civil authorities to know why you came and what your plans are.``
Then he set himself up as their guide in Québéc. From the afternoon of May 14, he led them to the Parliament, and put them in touch with officials of the Public Assistance : Dr. Alphonse Lessard, Director, and later with Commander Charles Magnan, Director of Normal Schools. Both men later became two major benefactors, and to them we owe the beginnings of the relatively rapid growth, as affirmed by Mother Angèle de St-Pierre
Without Sir Charlotin, who would put the Sisters of St. Paul in connection with such leading figures: Dr. Lessard on the side of hospitals and Commander Magnan on the side of education? Consequently, the Community owes a deep gratitude to the Charlotin family.
The warmest welcome was always reserved for Mother Louise- Amélie and Sister Angèle de St-Pierre when they went to their home. Mme. Charlotin, no less friendly than her husband, received them very kindly at her home, that their food and shelter were assured.
Sir and Mme. Charlotin were true friends and the Sisters of St. Paul keep them in grateful remembrance.
Following these various contacts, several projects were presented to them: hospital work for the elderly and children in Québéc ; direction of industrial schools to teach crafts to children; clinic in Bathurst in the province of New Brunswick ; possibility of a foundation in Abitibi, a newly-settled region west of the Province of Québéc, employment of nurses in a dispensary for an insurance company; parish works around Québéc. They even offered them free land for their works.
While the authorities in Québéc were seriously studying the possibility of these works, our two sisters headed to Montréal. Again, they met friends and had an interview with Monsignor Gauthier, Coadjutor Archbishop of Montréal. There was a question of schools paid by the School Board and subject to the control of its members At Québéc as in Montréal, obstacles arose, what to do? Pray with confidence.
After many steps ... opportunities to take root here and there, multiple interviews, meetings of all kinds ... some favored, others less ... our two Founders were still unaware of the ways of Providence… but God watches and his time will soon strike.
After the rejection of His Eminence, Cardinal Rouleau on May 23, there remained a glimmer of hope ... Where do you go? ...Return to France? ... But Mother Louise-Amélie was determined to succeed in the mission entrusted by her Superiors in Chartres.
Then she asked His Eminence: ``May we introduce ourselves on your part to Msgr. Gauthier?`` - ``Oh yes, and then see Msgr. Ross, Bishop of Gaspé ; he is here and he should leave for Québéc tonight. You will find the Seminary where he stays.``
Leaving the Archbishop`s house, Mother Louise- Amélie and her companion went to the Seminary and had a first interview with Msgr. Francois-Xavier Ross. His Excellency inquired about the purpose of the Congregation and was keenly interested in their works. He was kind and very friendly. He added: ``I know one of my pastors is looking for a Congregation for a hospital ; leave me your address and as soon as I am informed of his project, I will write you…``
Msgr. Francois-Xavier Ross
PROMISE OF A HOSPITAL
In the autumn of 1929, the Prime Minister of the Province of Québéc, the Honorable Alexander Taschereau, during a campaign tour in the Gaspé, stopped at Ste-Anne-des-Monts, where he was received by a very large welcoming crowd.
The Honorable Taschereau praised the Gaspésians, its beautiful parish of Ste-Anne-des-Monts, its magnificent church, its rural school and he added: `` All you need is a hospital and I am happy to offer it ``.
Fr. Veilleux took immediate steps to meet the Prime Minister, But he faced an obstacle--the condition that the promised $35,000.00 would be given if the pastor finds Sisters for the organization and the sustainability of the work. So he contacted five Communities who refused, one after the other. His Bishop, Msgr. Ross, advised him to go to France and immediately appealed to two Communities : the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny and the Sisters of Charity of Nevers. However, he received a notice from both that they could not come.
Fr. Pierre Veilleux
SISTERS OF ST. PAUL OF CHARTRES
Sister Angèle de St-Pierre and Mother Louise-Amélie
The life and mission of the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres in Canada
On 10 May 1930, Mother Louise-Amélie and Sister Angèle de St-Pierre arrived in Québéc, delegated by our Superiors in Chartres, during the General Chapter of 1929, to start a foundation in Canada.
Mother Louise-Amélie, Provincial Superior of Tonkin, had been retained at the Mother House by Msgr. Gaudron in view of this foundation. She chose as her companion in this apostolic adventure the much younger Sister Angéle de St-Pierre, who was at Cherbourg Hospital, where she had dedicated the past ten years, taking care of the sick. Both sailed on May 3, 1930, from Cherbourg, on the ``Empress of France.``
MOTHER ST. BARTHÉLÉMY
Mother St. Barthélémy, who was elected Superior General of the Congregation in 1929, admirably seconded Msgr. Gaudron’s proposed foundation in Canada.
She was a great benefactor to the Canadian branch. Her broad and precise views and her generosity, which did not refuse any sacrifice of material assistance and precious subjects, made her a great religious figure deserving our gratitude.
On behalf of the community, Mother St. Barthélémy gave Mother Louise-Amélie the mandate to establish a work in Canada in these terms:
CHARTRES, April 10, 1930
`` I, the undersigned, Sister St. Barthélémy, Superior General of the Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres, legally recognized and authorized by Order of the Consuls of 19 Frimaire, An XI, declare to have appointed, in consultation with the General Council, Sister Louise-Amélie, ex-Provincial Superior of Tonkin, for the establishment of an institution in Canada.
Done at Chartres,
the seat of the Congregation
L. S. Signed: Sr St-Barthélémy
Mother Louise-Amélie and Sister Angéle de St-Pierre, the pioneers, did not know what the future had in store for them upon landing in Quebec ... With confidence, they relied on Providence and allowed themselves to be led by events. Their mission was, at the same time, both delicate and difficult : to establish a branch from the old trunk of Chartres, which, at that time, had existed for more than two hundred years.
Through Sister Alice-Aimée de l’Enfant Jésus, a Carmelite in Hanoi, Mother Louise- Amélie and Sister Angèle de St-Pierre received hospitality from the Dames de la Conregation in Bellevue.
The very next day, May 11, Mother Louise-Amélie explained to her amiable hostesses their aim in coming to Canada, which was already somewhat implied in the letters that announced their arrival. Immediately it was decided that the first step was to meet the Cardinal Archbishop of Québéc, Msgr. Rouleau. An interview was then sought and arranged for May 12 The two nuns from the Congregation conducted themselves to the Archdiocese ...
Some hope of settling in Québéc came from this first meeting ... The Cardinal put back his decision to a later date after consulting his Chapter. On May 23, 1930, in a second audience before the disturbing silence of the Archbishop, the Cardinal told them that the Chapter did not give the permission sought.
Reason: Too many Communities (36) were already established in Quebec.
What was to be done in the face of such a refusal but to put all trust in Him who never disappoints. However, Mother Louise-Amélie made one last effort by presenting requests submitted to them from all directions for hospital work and works of charity, but His Eminence did not see any possibility.
True to his promise, on May 31, 1930, Msgr. Ross wrote to Mother Louise-Amélie and suggested to her to go to Ste-Anne-des-Monts to study an offer for a Hospice.
On his part, Father Pierre Veilleux, pastor of Ste-Anne-des-Monts, sent them a letter dated June 3, 1930 and very kindly invited them to visit his home.
And by June 16, the two founders went to Québéc - in Ste-Anne-des-Monts, where they were received at the rectory.
Fr. Veilleux said: ``This is perhaps not the will of God ; if it is his will, he will make something good``. However, in May 1930, he learned from Msgr. Ross about the arrival of two Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres who wished to found a settlement in Canada. He saw in these fortuitous circumstances the answer to his prayers, but he also remembered that one of his parishioners, Marie-Ange St-Pierre, called by God on January 5, 1930, had offered her suffering and her life for the foundation of this hospital.
During their weeklong stay at the rectory, Mother Louise-Amélie and Sister Angèle conferring at length with Fr. Veilleux regarding the work to be undertaken and without minimizing the challenges ahead, wrote all the news in detail to Chartres and Mother Louise-Amélie asked that the response be sent by cablegram to Fr. Veilleux
Sister Angèle de St-Pierre wrote in her diary: ``I will never forget the warm welcome that Fr. Veilleux gave us.``
Our two founders left Ste-Anne-des-Monts on June 23, and by July 4, Mother Louise-Amélie received a phone call from Fr. Veilleux telling her of the cablegram from Chartres, accepting the foundation of Ste-Anne.
Things had turned around long enough for the unexpected to move forward … to hasten…to settle ... and the little branch took root in the land of Gaspé.
On July 26, through the newspapers, the French Canadian public learned the birth in Canada of a new venture.
On 9 August, the official announcement of the opening of the Hospice was made at the parish Mass. From both sides, emotions were high ... Fr. Veilleux appealed to everyone's generosity to furnish and decorate the future chapel ; he knew his people and did not appeal in vain for their dedication and generous heart because that same evening, several parishioners came to offer the most important items ... The gifts kept coming. Two ladies offered to go around the parish and collect the offerings. The population was so pleased with the opening of the house. Sister Angèle said : ``This welcome give us great pleasure and comforts us ; to feel wanted, expected, gives hope for the success of the work..``
THE WELCOME OF
MSGR. FRANCOIS.-XAVIER ROSS
IN HIS DIOCESE
In 1930, Msgr. F. X. Ross welcomed the Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres with much kindness, and followed the development of their work with great interest. On 23 July, he gave them their authorization to enter the Diocese of Gaspé.