Tribute to Sister Marie-Rose St-Amant, SP
By Sr. Annette Aspirot, SP
Sister Marie-Rose St-Amant was born on September 22, 1933, in Saint-Tite, Quebec, the second child in a family of twelve. Her religious vocation was nourished under the influence of religious teachers, especially during her high school years with the Sisters of Providence. She entered the postulate on November 17, 1952, pronounced her temporary vows on November 19, 1954, and her perpetual vows on November 19, 1957.
As a young professed religious, Sister Marie-Rose began her nursing education at the General Hospital Christ-Roi in Verdun, Quebec, and continued her education until she was graduated from the Institut Marguerite d’Youville, a branch of the University of Montreal, with a specialty in obstetrics. During her three years of temporary vows, she was a companion in the pediatric department at the hospital in Verdun and in 1962, she was named the Head of the Department of Obstetrics at Sacred Heart Hospital in Montreal.
Sister Marie-Rose left Quebec in 1963 for Latin America. To prepare herself, she traveled to Mexico to study Latin American culture. Her first ministry was at the Hospital Vecinal in Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina. There she served as Head of the Obstetrics Department from 1964 to 1969, Director of the Practical Nursing Course from 1969 to 1977 and Director of the Home for the Elderly in the years 1977-1978.
Sister Rose-Marie demonstrated excellent leadership abilities in her various ministries. In Caleta Olivia, she facilitated the catechesis classes for the Sacrament of Confirmation and was actively involved in the Caritas movement. For seven years, she was devoted to family catechesis in which she recognized the value and effectiveness within families. Also, during her stay in Caleta Olivia, the Providence Associates Movement was born. With her Sisters of Providence, she contributed to keeping the sacred fire of this new initiative alive, which is, in fact, a living testimony to the vitality of a Church that takes charge of its own life.
Sister Marie-Rose ended her journey in South America in Santiago, Chile. Having followed a refresher course at the Institut de formation et rééducation (Formation & Reeducation Institute) in Montreal, Sister dedicated herself, from 1989-1993, to the accompaniment of persons and groups in the process of the actualization of their human qualities and strengths.
It did not occur to Sister Marie-Rose to rest on her laurels. The facts speak for themselves. In 1993, motivated by her missionary charism, she went to Cameroon, Africa. As a Formation Director, she accompanied women who were discerning a call to religious life as well as the Sisters in temporary vows. Sister Marie-Rose ministered in a small village in the bush with a population 1,000 people – sometimes, it was impossible to travel there during the rainy season.
She ministered alongside the Providence Associates and felt great satisfaction in seeing the Associates grow both psychologically and spiritually. At the same time, it was important to her to meet the challenges posed by differences in culture and values. “I try to communicate as best I can the spirit of Mother Gamelin. For this, we must combine patience and knowledge in order to pass on Providence Spirituality to those who are exploring a vocational call,” she said.
Sister Marie-Rose returned to Quebec after 22 years in Cameroon and 30 years in Latin America. These years of missionary service illustrate a life of ministry that is worthy of praise.
You went on long roads.
You defied bad weather and doubts.
This rough ascent is precious;
You tamed it and that was your passion.
Sister Marie-Rose, your zeal was a fire that consumed you throughout your life. You are one of those Sisters of Providence who have contributed to the building our church on rock for 175 years. This is your legacy.
Sister Marie-Rose passed away on December 27, 2018.
By Sister Marie Eméline Ezami Atangana, SP
Sister Marie Éméline Ezami Atangana, SP, a young Cameroonian Sister, also pays tribute to Sister Marie-Rose “I had the opportunity to meet her in Cameroon, during my journey on the path to religious life. First, she was in charge of internship and Prenovitiate and that’s where I experienced great encounters in spiritual accompaniment, which were nourished by prayer, dialogue, listening and discernment. Sister Marie-Rose St-Amant was a model of confidence, listening, simplicity, tenderness, humility and charity.
“After my temporary vows and when I received the missioning to Haiti, you, Sister Mary Rose, reassured me, saying: ‘Regarding the Mission, you will feel as in Cameroon. Go with the force that animates you and do not fear, the Lord is always with you, in you, around you, in others, in the events, and your guardian angel has been sent by the Lord to guard you in all your ways. What else could you want, dear Éméline? Believe in the grace of office that is given to us by our vow of obedience. With it, achieve wonders. You will remain my thoughts and prayers.’
“For this, I thank you greatly for your missionary zeal in Argentina, Chile and especially in Cameroon. The people of Cameroon are very grateful for the various services you performed, the project of drinkable well-water, the mechanical pump and the water tower and for the unschooled child sponsorship. Thank you for your kind cooperation with the Providence Associates in Koudandeng.
“Sister Marie-Rose, my mother, the good you have done will never die. I promise to water that which you have sowed in me and make you always fruitful.”