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10 March

Mother Marie-Auréa Tessier, OSU

Born at St-Léon de Maskinongé, the oldest child of a family of thirteen children, Marie-Auréa joins the Ursuline Sisters of Trois-Rivières in 1929. She works as a teacher, school principal, responsible for boarders and for Catholic Action movements, local and provincial superior.

In 1966, Mother Auréa is elected Superior General of the Canadian Union of the Ursuline Sisters. Her nine-year term is the memorable one of the Aggiornamento Chapters and the drafting of the new Constitutions. During these years, she gets involved in the CRC-Q, of which she becomes vice-president from 1970 to 1975, and in the CRC-N, where she is president of the female section in 1971 and then vice-president once the two sections, female and male, are united in 1973. She is vice-president of the AREQ, from 1969 to 1971, and delegate and councillor of the U.I.S.G, from 1973 to 1975. She joins Foi et Partage after having been on a retreat with Jean Vanier.

At the end of her term as Superior General, in 1975 at Shawinigan, she founds Le Tremplin, a home for women in difficulty, and Carrefour X, to accompany them humanly and spiritually. With other people she animates La Flambée, a version of the Cursillo mouvement for young people, and takes part in Reflets, a Christian group for blended families. She accepts to become the representative of the Canadian Union of Ursuline Sisters at the Association of Religious for the Status of Women. In 1985, in the area of Trois-Rivières, she starts a group of lay people associated with the Ursuline Sisters.

As a speaker, well fit for her time, she questions her audiences in the same way she questions herself. In Rome, in 1974, she said: “At the heart of tomorrow’s evangelization, shouldn’t witness be our focus? And what type of witness? Not the fruit of our personal effort, but the witness given by the action of the Holy Spirit who, through our lives, manifests the image of Christ to the world.”

Mother Auréa received several awards, well-deserved. This recognition, by society and from the Church, is a faithful echo of the quality of her presence – wherever she was called to be – as a woman of faith, of wisdom, of vision and openness.