On the eve of Divine Mercy, during the night from Saturday to Sunday, April 16, Lise Lebrun passed away from this world and into the afterlife. The magnanimous lady had been very close with the poor. She founded a housing cooperative and would not back down in defence of friends and neighbours, even if it meant going well out of her way. She was a prophetess in action!
Sister Lise Lebrun, of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, or Madame Lise as she is known in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, was and is still today an inspiring force in the social action ministry in our diocese. She is a beacon to those for whom life in society is connected to the Gospel, for whom fellowship with the poor is part of what the Christian people call "Your Kingdom" when they say the Lord’s Prayer.
Her career with Montreal’s diocesan services was not long, lasting from the fall of 1991 to the spring of 1995. It was a time that saw the launching of a diocesan Synod and an examination of the status of women at a gathering of some 1,000 of them who worked in the Church, with the Archbishop at St. Joseph's Oratory.
Sister Lise worked in support of Sister Madeleine St-Michel, her assistant, in starting up the service that was to become SASMAD, Pastoral Home Care, providing spiritual accompaniment to the sick and the elderly in their homes. That organization celebrates the 30th anniversary of its founding this year. In Sister Lise’s eyes, the sick also have to be mobilized – their words and their prayers are important, too!
From this was born the local ministry of social action. In April 1995, the magazine L'Église de Montréal published the testimony of Ms. Solange Trudeau under the title "Présence en milieu Populaire," meaning “Presence in the people’s community.” Told by Claude Julien, a member of the Sons of Charity, it was a story he had gathered in Villeray. A little while afterwards, the diocesan program for a local social action ministry was created, through the partnership of the Association des supérieurs.es majeurs.es de Montréal (ASMDM), (dissolved in 2018), the Archdiocese and the parishes. Villeray was the community that inaugurated the project, with the contribution of the late Fr. Ugo Benfante – also a member of the Sons of Charity. Sister Lise oriented the Office des Oeuvres in the direction of social action.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday, May 2, at 1:30 p.m., at the Pionnières residence, 850 Côte-Vertu Boulevard. May Sister Lise continue to inspire us with her love and lucidity!