Varennes Celebration

Written on: August 1, 2022

The Grey Nuns of Canada commemorated the 250th anniversary of the death of St. Marguerite d’Youville during 2021. The installation of benches at St. Marguerite’s shrine in Varennes, representing each congregation of Grey Nuns in Canada and the U.S., was postponed until July 2nd of this year because of Covid19. Fortunately, the celebration and unveiling of the benches coincided with the 350th anniversary of Varennes.

Some of you were in Montreal when St. Marguerite’s body was transferred to Varennes, her birthplace, several years ago. Since then, Grey Nuns of Montreal and their associates have worked to greatly enlarge and enhance the Sanctuaire, making it accessible for groups to learn more about our foundress, the most famous “Varennoise.” The site is on the shores of the St. Lawrence and her statue graces the shore.

The long awaited memorial on July 2, 2022 included an invitation to Grey Nuns of each congregation. Although no Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart attended, there were more than a hundred Canadian Grey Nuns at the solemn Mass in Sainte-Anne Basilica.  After mass, the crowd converged on the gardens of the Sanctuaire Marguerite d’Youville to view the benches and garden. You can find photos of the six benches here, representing the Grey Nuns of Montreal, St. Hyacinthe, Ottawa, Quebec, Philadelphia, and Pembroke. The benches each have images signifying the unique symbols of the congregation they represent.

Sister Jeanne Poor, sgm, a Montreal Grey Nun missioned for many years in Lexington, Massachusetts, reported that the Mass and ceremony on July 2nd were quite moving. The Montreal Grey Nuns came to the celebration at the end of their 2-week Chapter, which they were able to hold at Ile St. Bernard in Chateauguay, in Manoir d’Youville. Jeanne told us that since they sold Chateauguay, the new owners have successfully become a conference center and they continue to take special care of the cemetery where so many of the Grey Nuns of Montreal are buried, truly sacred ground.

A video of the celebration was prepared. You can view the video of the July 2nd celebration in Varennes, hereIt is nice to watch, even though it is in French, without subtitles!

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