The object of this simple tribute is to perpetuate the memory of a precious young religious whose life-span though short, has merited by her edifying examples of piety and docility an enduring place in the recollection of her Community, and which was finally crowned by a beautiful and holy death, Dec. 29, 1902.
Inspiration to renounce the world came to Maude Dennee, just as she was indulging the applause and admiration of a gay society. Her rare mental endowments, refinement and other admirable characteristics attracted the companionship of a large circle of social equals, but in imitation of our Divine Redeemer, who fled when the multitude wished to proclaim Him King, she heroically resolved to avoid public notice and lead a retired life.
Her Father, who was a non-Catholic, strongly opposed his daughter entering a religious Community but with womanly heroism and humble trust in God, she courageously surmounted the cruelest difficulties. Her professional duties as stenographic teacher in the Business College obliged her to reside in Kingston while her family home was in Bath, a few miles above Kingston. This happy circumstance tended to develop and strengthen the one desire of her existence, namely, religious vocation. Relying on the wisdom of an enlightened and pious director, Rev. J.P. Kehoe, she easily gained admission to the Novitiate on the vigil of the Assumption 1894. Even in this long coveted seclusion, the fervent young novice was well schooled in trials and was often tempted to turn aside from the paths of perfection she had resolved to pursue. Destined, it might be said, to be classed among the Veronicas upon whose hearts is imprinted the Sorrowful countenance of the Victim of Calvary. Therefore, the title assumed at holy profession, feast of St. Teresa 1896, was for this favoured soul no meaningless signification. But in all there was a providential design, as these contradictions and temptations served only to detach her heart and supernaturalism her affections.
Sr. M. Veronica’s well deserved reputation as a teacher rendered her very valuable in the Community, and to further widen her knowledge and secure a professional certificate she was allowed to study for two years at the Mother House, under the tutorship of the Professors of Regiopolis College. In the class-room she was revered; ever active, benign and wholly religious. Her vigilance, promptness and advancement pertaining to school and pupils, signalized her as a successful teacher. She taught in St. Mary’s School, Kingston and in the Separate School, Belleville, where our Sisters replaced the Loretta Nuns, at St. Michael’s Convent, Aug. 15, 1900.
The courteousness and affability of manners which won for her so much respect in the world did not fail to gain the love and esteem of her companions in religion, and as a result of her laudable endeavour, to perfect herself in every duty, humble submission and reverence for the voice of God, through Superiors, characterized her in the pursuit of her noble calling.
Devout meditation on the Sacred Passion, an ardent love of the Blessed Sacrament and a childlike confidence in our Immaculate Mother had a sustaining influence in hours of desolation and discouragement to which this too sensitive heart often gave way.
The Community, knowing the treasure it possessed in so gentle and useful a member, predicted a promising future for our dear Sister. But, alas – a few days of intense suffering, patiently endured, sufficient to break the slender thread of life, ensuring her pure young soul the possession of that “Eternal Good” for which she so often and ardently signed. On Monday, Dec. 15, 1902, Sr. M. Veronica, accompanied by the Local Superior of Belleville Convent, came to the Mother House. A violent attack of pneumonia prostrated her. The best medical skill and intelligent nursing were secured; her condition was alarming and at the suggestion of the Physician the last Sacraments were administered. She lingered on enduring agonizing pains, yet admirably resigned until Sunday the 28th inst at 11 p.m. when the infirmarian noticing a serious change summoned the Superior and Pharmacist. In less than an hour the Confessor arrived but she was unable to articulate, still he remained at the bedside helping our dear Sister, by prayers and absolutions to die peacefully. At half past one the willing soul went forth from her earthly tenement to meet her Creator.
Reverently were the last services performed over the remains of this much-loved young religious whose memory will live in her sorrowing Community as a model of fervour and generosity in the practice of all the virtues, especially that of holy obedience. Sr. M. Veronica was in the thirty-fifth year of her age and laboured nobly eight years and four months in her religious vocation. May the remembrance of her good deeds secure many a fervent prayer for the sweet repose of her soul!