Sisters of Saint Joseph of Annecy

Sr. Marie Claude - Sidonie Pochat-Cotilloux

Of Entremont, Haute Savoie

Who died at Grand Chêne, Vieugy on 9th January 2022

Aged 97 years, 76 of Religious Profession.

Sr Marie Claude was born on 4 October 1925 in Entremont, 97 years ago, the fourth child in a family of eight. Three girls entered the Congregation of St Joseph. One of her brothers entered the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Every birth is above all the fruit of God's love. The parents are the auxiliaries to transmit this Love. But it is God, our Father, who is the source, the origin of all life; that of Sr Marie Claude in particular.

She was baptised two days after her birth. "I will pour pure water on you and I will cleanse you", says the Bible, the Word of God. John the Baptist, precursor of Jesus, confirms: "He, Jesus, will baptize you in the Spirit and in fire", the purifying fire, symbol of a Love without limits. On October 6, Sr. Marie Claude was immersed in this Love which would call upon her throughout her long life.

In 1934, at the age of 11, she received the sacrament of confirmation... confirmed, strengthened in Love and the call to respond to this Love, simply, day by day.

On 4th January 1947, aged 20, she took an important step. She entered the convent. The next five years were marked by annual vows, responses to Christ's unconditional love for her and for the world. She was 25 years old when she took her perpetual vows: a definitive gift of herself to God in the service of others.

After two years of study in Lyon, she obtained her nursing diploma. A testimony given about her stated: "Sr Marie Claude was a very good nurse. She worked in all the departments of a hospital: basement, kitchen, linen room, elderly service, medicine, paediatrics, surgery, operating theatre.

What an experience! The testimony continues: "She was a very simple sister; pleasant in community, charitable, devoted, always ready to help. Her common sense was appreciated when it came to making a decision. She did not seek complications and knew how to smooth out difficulties.

Another testimony reads: "Her experience of the sick, her openness to others, enabled Sr Marie Claude minister in various places: Evian, Sallanches, Thônes, Samoëns, but above all in Algeria at Alma Boudouaou. She spent 19 very happy years there. She knew the population, visited the women who could not always go out. Her stay in Samoëns also marked her. She visited the families with her legendary car that everyone knew. Her life was filled with various experiences: caring for the sick, visiting and supporting poor families in difficulty. She was a missionary like her brother, Jean, in Canada.

In 2018 at the age of 93, it was time for her to take a rest and to prepare herself for the encounter with Jesus, the One she tried to follow step by step in the gift of herself. She was welcomed to the Grand Chêne. The staff appreciated her peace, her docility, her simplicity. From experience, she knows that the work is not always easy for the carers, difficulties that increased during the COVID 19 pandemic. Thank you to all the staff, the residents and the volunteers.

Sister Marie Claude “left” on Saturday night, January 8. She died as she lived – peacefully.

Thank you, Sister Marie Claude for your life, from the place of Light where you are, continue to watch over your family and the Congregation; A-Dieu. We will meet again in God, the furnace of Love.