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Venerable Rosalie Cadron-Jetté

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Rosalie Cadron-Jetté (1794-1864), although born in a family enjoying a certain financial ease, never learned to write. At the time, in Lavaltrie where she grew up, there was no school. This explains why our archival holdings unfortunately contain no hand-written letters from her and little documentation dealing with the beginnings of the Institute of the Misericordia sisters. Nonetheless, she was very close to Bishop Bourget who had known her even before his Episcopal ordination and had been her confessor. Impressed by her charity, humility and simplicity he thought of her to carry a project that had been on his mind for a very long time.

It was first under the name of Hospice de Sainte-Pélagie that began in 1845 the work of Rosalie Cadron-Jetté. The vocation of the house held by this widow, mother of 11 children, was primarily to help single pregnant women. At the time, these vulnerable women were often rejected by their families and by society. In 1848, this work became the Institute of the Misericordia Sisters. Young women who came to knock on the doors of the establishment were supported by the nuns and accompanied by them throughout their pregnancy and even beyond. A novelty for the time, the Misericordia Sisters even undertook a professional midwife training to fulfill their mission. Between 1845 and 1864, more than 2,200 women were welcomed by the institution. Very criticized by the anticlerical movement of the 1970’s, the outstanding contribution of this community is only today beginning to be justly recognized.

Although she was at the origin of this mission, Rosalie Cadron-Jetté never became the superior of the Institute. Refusing the position, she entered the religious community at the time of its official foundation as a simple nun under the name of Soeur de la Nativité. For the next few years, in the shadows, she continued her mission with young mothers hosted by the Institute. After a long and grueling illness, she died on April 5, 1864. On the eve of her death, the Bishop of Montreal, Ignace Bourget, had visited her at her bedside. The next day, at dawn, the superior of the community, mother St. Joseph wrote to the bishopric to announce the death of their founder. It is this letter written one hundred and fifty years ago that we make public today. Three days later, the Bishop of Montreal sang the funeral service of the deceased.

In 1989, shortly before his resignation, Cardinal Grégoire began the process leading up to the opening of the cause of canonization in Rome. On December 3, 2013, Rosalie Cadron-Jetté was declared venerable by the Church. At the present time, the canonization process continues.

On the agenda:

April 2014, Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, Archbishop Emeritus of Montreal, will celebrate mass at the mother house of the Misericodia Sisters to mark the 150 anniversary of the entrance into heaven of the venerable Rosalie Cadron-Jetté.

On September 28, at 11 am, a memorial mass will be presided by our Archbishop, Christian Lépine, in Notre-Dame’s Basilica.

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