Back to List

169th Anniversary of the death of Blessed Emilie Gamelin – September 23, 1851-2020

When Mother Gamelin died, the newspapers of the time published several articles consecrated to the Charity of Mother Gamelin. The first of which was her obituary notice.  Here are some excerpts:

“A sudden death, accompanied by all the symptoms of cholera, has just plunged the Sisters of Charity of this city, known as the Sisters of Providence, into the deepest sorrow. Their Superior and Foundress, the Reverend Mother Gamelin, died on Tuesday, September 23rd, after an illness of only twelve hours…

“The late venerable Mother was only 51 years, 7 months and 4 days old. She was born in Montreal on the fief, La Providence, on February 19, 1800.  Her parents were far more remarkable for their honesty than for their wealth… She was a pupil of the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame of this city.  She was educated by them in the virtue of piety and she gained the affection of all these excellent teachers.

“As a lady of society, she was universally loved and respected. She felt called to embrace marriage so she entered into matrimony with an eligible bachelor who had similar aspirations to her own, that is, to assist the poor and to shelter and care for the orphan….

“God tests those whom He loves and often enough God prepares them through suffering and sorrow for the works He wants them to do. Mother Gamelin having lost her husband and three children was inconsolable, and she turned more fervently to her religion where she hoped to find consolation in her grief…  Though she had lost her entire family; she found another one in that of the poor, the sick, the invalid and the suffering of every kind…even prisoners  were included in her zeal… What would she not do to obtain all possible relief for them in their pitiable condition? When an epidemic broke out… this wise and charitable widow hastened to the aid of the sick…

“In this life so thoroughly Christian, and so filled with devotedness did this charitable lady, all unknowingly, prepare herself for the great share she was destined to have in the establishment of the House of Providence…

“It was in this very house that Madame Gamelin, would soon become a Sister of Charity, and would spend the last eight years of her life, working tirelessly with the numerous companions who came to her from all over to accomplish the goal of the Institution…

“The sequel to this edifying and interesting story is well known… Everyone understands the immense loss sustained by this new Community; but no one can express the grief, the desolation caused by such an unexpected death, not only in that house of mourning, but also throughout the entire city of Montreal… The life of the just person always appears too short and it seems to us that charitable persons should never die…

“Before closing this too brief notice, let us consider the admirable ways of Divine Providence in deigning to bring about so much good, and to do such great things through the actions of a single woman born in obscurity, stripped of her fortune, but rich in faith and animated by charity! Eternal thanks be to God, the Author of all perfect gifts, who has given such a remarkable heroine to our city – such a wonderful example for our time! “


Cf. :  Mélanges Religieux, Vol. XV, 30 septembre 1851, p. 2

Reproduced in Coll. Providence, No. 6, 1974, pp. 25-30


N.B. : The spelling of that time was respected.

Sister Yvette Demers

Vice Postulator of the Emilie Gamelin Cause