While the plaintive petition “Requiem aeternam” lingers on the lips and in the hearts of a sorrowing sisterhood for our deeply lamented Sister Mary of Mercy, the Community is called upon to mourn the premature loss of dear Sister Mary of the Assumption, whose amiability of character, goodness of heart, and ardent zeal have earned the affectionate remembrance of her Institute.
On September 2, 1894, the Providence Novitiate welcomed to its hallowed Sanctum two gifted and pious young candidates in the persons of Mary Jane MacDonell, the subject of this brief record and her elder sister Bella, known in the Community as Sister Mary of Nazareth.
St. Raphael’s, Glengarry Co., was the birthplace of this privileged child and the happy event blessed the home of her pious parents on the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 1876.
The Noviceship of our happy aspirant was marked by an extraordinary event. The usual and trials humiliations of probation were cheerfully endured and she strove earnestly to follow in the way that would lead her to perfection. In manners obliging and condescending, this favoured young soul readily gained the esteem and affection of her companions.
The desired day of espousals dawned Oct. 15, 1896, and with joy inexpressible she pronounced the vows of which consecrated to her Lord her entire being. As a professed novice she rendered valuable services at St. Vincent de Paul Hospital, Brockville. Here she willingly spent her health and strength in caring and solacing the sick and suffering. Ready for every duty, she made it her constant aim to accommodate herself to the will of others, revering in the voice of her Superiors that of God Himself. Our dear Sister had a keen appreciation of the value of every moment in God’s service and whether suffering bodily pain or labouring in the sick-room her generosity was equally admirable.
During her Novitiate which was now about to close, the Community had anticipated the consolation of adding another shining link to the chain of earnest labourers. But alas! Our gentle Sister was attacked by that fatal disease which never spares its victim. She was one of our Lord’s chosen children: “Early called, early blest.” After profession of final vows she lingered on fulfilling God’s purpose in suffering and her soul became more tranquil each succeeding day.
The last days of the month of St. Joseph were piously employed in preparing to answer the summons of her heavenly Bridegroom and it was this call that she joyfully awaited, although she had not completed the twenty-fourth year of her age nor the sixth of her religious life.
Her own and tenderly loved Sister Mary of Nazareth was called from her missionary duties in Perth to take a fond farewell before those loving eyes would forever close to the things of earth. This great privilege was an immense consolation to the dying Sister, for we may well believe that in consecrated hearts there is a depth of sympathy and tenderness which cannot be surpassed by mere human ties and affections.
As might be expected, the end came all beautiful in the gentleness on Palm Sunday morning, April 8, 1900. Another pure young soul had winged its flight on high to blend her voice with the harmony of the angelic court singing eternally Alleluia! Alleluia!
REQUIESCAT IN PACE