On January 7, 2022, at the hospital Hôtel-Dieu in Lévis, Sister Claire Gagné passed away at 89 years of age, during 71 of which she was a Sister of la Charité de Saint-Louis.
By Carmelle Jetté
I believe that Sister Claire truly inherited the qualities of her patron Saint Louis. She was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she knew no rest: she gave her all for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls!
Sister Claire, the example of faith, charity and the love of God, her fellow human beings and the Church. She spent her vacations leading retreats in houses of prayer in Jourdain, Montreal, Trois-Rivières, Granby, among other places.
I met her for the first time in the course of a mini-conference held in Valleyfield some 33 years ago. She dominated the gathering; it was quite remarkable, and I was very impressed. The following summer, those in charge of Jourdain invited her to lead a five-day retreat. Being busy teaching, I was not at that time working at Jourdain. I worked with the Jourdain team, and to work with Sister Claire was like being in school, we learned so much. It was profoundly enriching to be around her.
And what a week it proved to be, with Sister Claire driving home the theme of the retreat throughout! Thereafter, every summer there would be a much-anticipated appointment at the Maison du Pardon, Saint-Angèle-de-Laval in Bécancour and then later in Saint-Jacques-de-Montcalm. I would say that, through these retreats, Sister Claire trained the Jourdain team in the charismatic ministry. The numerous upsets and unforeseen circumstances never found her lacking for a solution.
Participants came from all over, from the Beauce and Montreal, from Valleyfield and Laval, among other places. Knowledge of the event was spread by word of mouth, so that each year there were always more of us, with all of taking leave at the end with our hearts on fire for the mission and inspired to spread the Good News. For six years, we had the happy experience of taking part in these important times of spiritual renewal with her.
The themes were always different: the Spirit of Benediction… the power of the Name of Jesus… All Things Work for the Good of those who Believe… Arise, shine; for your Light has come… Each theme was illustrated with examples of conversions, healings and one-of-a-kind events that deeply impressed us and remained etched in our memories.
It was impossible not to become imbued with these messages that she left with us, every summer, year after year. I mentioned above how she kept on repeating her messages, so that consequently, even today, they remain alive in our memories.
For instance, every evening I ask a blessing on our house by reciting this prayer: Lord, send your Spirit of Blessing into every part of our house. These messages have become part of me. When I perform the laying on of hands, I pray by the power of the Name of Jesus, that Name which is above all other names.
Arise, shine; for your Light has come. This message nourishes my faith and sustains it: Arise, shine; for your Light has come. So beautiful!
Sister Claire contributed greatly to the cultivation of the faith of so many, wherever she went, in Haiti, in Quebec and everywhere else.
Sister Claire, we will miss you, your smile and your warm welcome….But the Lord will not leave us on our own, we know. By way of concluding with a hopeful message, let me tell you about an experience I had.
One day, I asked her, ‘‘Sister Claire, how did you begin your ministry?’’ She answered, ‘‘In Haiti, we had a priest who was very much involved in the Renewal, Fr. Lucien Côté. At a certain point, he was leaving, since there was no further need for a priest in Haiti.’’ She continued, ‘‘I said to him, ‘What will we do when you aren’t here anymore?’ ‘’ Father Lucien Côté answered, ‘‘You, Sister Claire, will carry on.’’ Then, laying on hands, Fr. Lucien Côté entrusted the mission to her… And when she spoke the word YES, she was filled with the Holy Spirit.
This is the invitation to each one of us to renew our word YES.
If you desire to work or to continue to give your life in the work of Evangelization, close your eyes, take a moment of silence and say:
Lord, I say YES to serving You. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. (Silence) Thank you for filling me with the power of your love. Thank you for doing everything else. All is in your hands, Lord. Amen!
THANK YOU SISTER CLAIRE TO CONTINUE TO ACCOMPANY US. WE PRAY FOR YOU. PRAY FOR US. AMEN!