"April 28, 1896 was the date set for our leaving LePuy." So begins Sister Felicien as she remembers leaving France for Canada. Yes, finally, Bishop Durieu’s request for Sisters of the Child Jesus to work with his beloved First Nations people, was becoming a reality. Mother Aimée, Sister Félicien, Sister St. Fabien and Sister Euphrasia were up at four o’clock that morning to begin their journey. They went by train from LePuy to Paris and then on May 1st at 6:00 pm boarded the train at St. Lazare Station bound for Le Havre.
At Le Havre they sailed at midnight for England and the "Paris", which was due to leave at 2:00 pm that day for New York. She writes: "Our happiness was great on Saturday, May 9, when the "Paris" proudly waving the American flag, landed among many other ships anchored at one of the biggest ports of New York City". They spent the day at a hotel "where everyone spoke our language" and at 6:00 pm boarded the train for Montreal. They arrived at the Canadian Pacific station the next morning and asked a coachman to take them to the St. Vincent de Paul Shelter run by the Sisters of Providence where Sister Anatolie, the superior, welcomed them! It was a Sunday and as Félicien writes they "were able to hear Mass, and a good French sermon, another illusion of our Country". They spent the night and then boarded the train for Ashcroft, BC, where they were met by Bishop Durieu, himself, at 5:00 am on May 16th! Their journey was not over, though, as they had two days of travel in a covered wagon before reaching Williams Lake around 6:00 pm on May 17th, 1896!
These four women left all to answer God’s call and they did so with hearts full of love. To me they are the first of our heroines. All four died in Canada, their adopted country!
Mother Aimée, the oldest of the four, was born November 12, 1858 and made first profession on September 19, 1881. She died January 31, 1942.
Standing from left to right:
Sister Félicien, the youngest of the four, was born January 22, 1874 and made first profession on September 10, 1895. She died July 6, 1943.
Sister St. Fabien was born April 22, 1868 and made first profession September 10, 1895. She died October 30, 1918.
Sister Euphrasia was born March 15, 1871 and made first profession on October 1, 1891. She died November 27, 1931.