“Transitus of Saint Francis of Assisi”
Sr. Marie Paule Willem :
Deepening the idea of hospitality in New York: Franciscan house is like a mini-UN
Make Me a Channel of Your Peace
Sr. Marie Paule Gobeil, Franciscan Missionary of Mary, 90, died August 23, 2017 at St. Antoine’s Residence in North Smithfield, R.I.
She was born July 2, 1918 in Quebec City, Canada; Marie-Paule was the sixth of eight children. Her parents formed a strong Catholic household in which each one was expected to attend daily mass when old enough to do so. There was also family Rosary in October and attendance at Sunday Vespers with Papa in the parish. An atmosphere like this was to nurture the fruit of three religious vocations. A brother became a Marist Brother missioned to Zimbabwe and a sister also joined the FMM and spent 35 years in Australia.
Still little, Marie-Paule desired to go to school and at age three attended the Ecole Maternelle run by the FMM through third grade and then attended the parish school for grades 4-7. After that, she studied privately. She always attended the patronages, social groups arranged by the Sisters for various ages of girls on Sunday afternoons. Marie-Paule says that she could hear the Sisters singing the Mass when she was at home in her room. Even before entering, she said, “My life was with the FMM!”
Her mother died when Marie-Paule was 14, and from then on, she cared for her father, the house and family for ten years, working for the Government during the last two.
September 1943 saw her entering as a Postulant in Quebec at age 25. St. Joseph’s Day 1944, she received the Habit and the name M. Louis Romeo. She made her First and Final Vows in March, 1946 and 1949, all in Quebec. In 1947, still a Young Professed, Marie-Paule was the Assistant for the Ste. Jeanne d’Arc community in Winnipeg. She completed three years there and was then missioned to the US, to be Assistant in our community in Woonsocket, Rl in 1950. She went to Holy Family in North Providence on the feast of Blessed Assunta, 1960. After this, she was in St. Francis Hospital Convent as sacristan/cook; she returned to North Providence to supervise the food service. After some five years, Marie-Paule was asked to be part of the St. Joseph Senior Community in Brighton, MA, where she helped out in various capacities. After a year of renewal in Canada, Marie-Paule was again sent to St. Francis, Roslyn, where her ministry was hospitality for the family members of pediatric patients from around the world.
In 1985, she received permission to travel to Korea to experience the country and lifestyle of some of her young patients to be better able to help and understand them. She attended several reunions of her former “grandchildren” and all enjoyed seeing “halmoni” (grandmother) again. After her return to St. Francis, Marie-Paule worked in the Finance Department of St. Francis Hospital and was driver and Jill-of-all-trades for the Community. From 1985, she was the community bursar. Always one to enjoy a good laugh or to give one, Marie-Paule is remembered in Roslyn for wearing the most daring and huge and fashionable hat-filled with flowers and birds-to a social event with some of her friends.
In July 2002, Marie-Paule was sent to Fruit Hill to spend more time resting and praying and enjoying life. After some years at Fruit Hill, where she was a cheerful and friendly presence to the community and staff in the Assisted Living, Marie Paule was missioned to St. Antoine in August, 2017. Here she would spend her final days in peaceful acceptance of her surroundings, praying for others, and, to her delight, communicating with a number of staff and residents who could speak French.
Her funeral will be held on Friday, September 1 at Holy Family Chapel, 399 Fruit Hill Avenue, North Providence. Burial will be in Holy Family Cemetery. Visitation Thursday, August 31, 4 – 7 pm with a wake service at 7.
Funeral arrangements by Russell J. Boyle & Son Funeral Home.
Help Promote Vocations to the FMM Way of Life
Two (2) posters are available for vocation promotion purposes. Please feel free to download, print and post them in schools, parishes, etc. or distribute them to young women whom you think might be considering religious life.
For more information, please contact:
St. Marie Hermine and Companions, Martyrs of China (+ Video)
On July 8th, the Church and our Institute celebrates the liturgical feast of St. Marie Hermine and her Companions, seven young FMM sisters, massacred in China, on 9th July 1900, in Taiyuan-fu.
Coming from diverse family situations and four different countries, they met in the family of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. Together, on 12th March 1899, they left the Port of Marseilles for China. Having arrived at Taiyuan-fu, in the region of Shanxi on 4th May, with faith and courage they endured the sacrifices necessary to adapt to a new climate, enter a very different culture, weave new relationships…
They carried in their hearts an immense desire, which is that of Christ:“That they may have life and have it in abundance”.
– To a world so different from theirs, to an ancient and mysterious culture;
– A waiting for relationships, to understand and welcome and to be understood
and welcomed, so that communion may be born, may grow and bear fruit;
– The disponibility to serve the orphans, the women and the sick, to give
without measure, with humility and creativity, with gentleness and strength;
– The suffering in face of the needs of so many persons who come to them,
and the limitations of what they can do…
A year after their arrival, the Boxer Rebellion erupted. Among others, one of its consequences was the massacre of the entire mission of Taiyuan-fu: two bishops, several missionaries, a group of Chinese Christians and the entire community of FMM sisters.
Marie Hermine and her companions were beatified in 1946 and canonized in 2000, together with other martyrs of China.
On this day, we invite you to watch and download the video