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A tribute to the Hospitallers

21-03-2018

National

In the span of six minutes, reknown actresses, including Micheline Lanctôt, Pascale Bussières, Sophie Faucher and Ève Landry, recount events that occurred in the lives of twelve members of the Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph.

In a video clip that has just recently been posted online, actress Ève Landry plays the role of a religious sister who provided care to drug addicts in the North Shore of Quebec.

It is the very first clip of the series Extraordinary Stories of Hospitallers, produced and directed by André Waquant, who has been working on this project for seven years.

In the span of six minutes, actresses, including Micheline Lanctôt, Pascale Bussières, Sophie Faucher and Ève Landry, recount events that occurred in the lives of twelve members of the Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph.

The eleven other video clips of the series will be posted in succession, one every three weeks, on the series website, hospitalieres.TV. The clip that pays tribute to Sister Huguette Laramée was posted on this site on March 15.

At the beginning of the video clip, Ève Landry says, "I am honoured to lend my voice to Sister Huguette to tell an outstanding life story of which she was a privileged witness."

Against a black backdrop, she (as Sister Huguette) explains that at age 30, at the Baie-Comeau Hospital, she discovered "the extent of drug abuse and the profound distress of the region."

The actress playing her role goes on to say, "I matured quickly as I was close to people in distress," while for a few seconds, footage of the real 85-year-old Sister Huguette is displayed as she sits at her desk, visibly pensive and concerned. The shot returns to the actress as she tells the story of Bertrand, a 24-year-old drug addict, "the most courageous person I know."

Sister Huguette Laramée never saw the final version of this video, in which this "outstanding life story" is told. She died on December 22, 2017 at the Mother House of the Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph.

Recognition

A few years ago, André Waquant was awarded the contract to redo the religious congregation's website. "I often had to go to the Mother House. I would meet sisters in the cafeteria."

"They are very humble," always discrete about their accomplishments. But André Waquant was persistent in his questioning.

By their answers, he discovered that they were "nothing less than superheroes," true heroines. "Batman saves people by day, but in the evening, he eats his steak and fries and sleeps in a luxurious bed. The sisters are always on the job. A Hospitaller is always on duty."

One day, he learned that approximately 600 sisters are buried in the crypt at the Mother House. "Six hundred sisters who dedicated their lives to our well-being. I was profoundly shaken."

These sisters "have been watching over us for 375 years. It's astounding," said André Waquant, founder of Made in Media, a communications agency. Thus was born the project of gathering the accounts of these women and recounting some of the most memorable moments of their lives.

"I would say to the sisters: 'Your stories absolutely have to be told.' I feel it is my duty to commemorate them and give them recognition. They eventually accepted."

Scripts were drawn up and twelve actresses were approached. The director confided that they all quickly accepted. They liked the text they were given, but mainly, they all wanted to represent these "remarkable women."

The names of the twelve actresses involved in this project are mentioned on the website, hospitalieres.TV, but the events they will depict in the eleven upcoming video clips are being kept secret. The website promises "stories that are representative of the humanitarian missions" of the sisters.

This project was supported by the following donors and sponsors: the Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph, the National Film Board, the Caisse Desjardins du Plateau-Mont-Royal and Fondation canadienne de la vidéo religieuse.

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