Father Antonio Tibaldo with director Sylvie Lapointe, leading the renewal of vows for 21 couples at the Manoir de l’Eau Vive.
Mr. Marcel Fortier and Ms. Émilienne Bernier of St-Isidore celebrated their 74 years together, and their 12 children, 30 grandchildren, and 40 great-grandchildren. And Mr. Léandre Bureau and Ms. Marie-Berthe Bouffard of Lingwick celebrated their 73 years together, and their 8 children, 11 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.
Mr. Marc-André Thibodeau and Ms. Réjeanne Turcotte celebrated their friendship of just one year, after meeting during activities at the Manoir de l’Eau Vive in Cookshire. And Mr. Jean-Paul Lachance and Ms. Velma Lavallée celebrated theirs of two years.
The four pairs were among 21 couples who celebrated their lives together in a festive renewal of vows at the Manoir on August 24. Many had been together decades; some met each other in recent years.
And the stories! Mr. Rénald Fauteux and Ms. Clarisse Lapointe began their life together 13 years ago, at the 50th anniversary of her twin sister’s marriage to his brother.
Mr. Marcel Spooner and Ms. Cécile Charest first met in a funeral parlor, when she was only 15 years old.
Mr. Réal Boulanger and Ms. Marilyn Goodin got married 59 years ago, after meeting at the factory where she worked, and where he made deliveries as a truck driver. She didn’t speak French and he didn’t speak English, but they made a truck trip together, and the rest is history.
The day began with a lunch-time mechoui in a generously decorated dining hall. For the ceremony, a crowd of more than 100 residents, staff and friends filled the spacious hall to overflowing as the director of the Manoir, Sylvie Lapointe, introduced each couple.
The recreational director, Joannie Vachon-Vallières, presented each pair with a plaque and a large box containing their own geneological tree, that she had carefully researched. And four musicians punctuated each presentation with renditions of golden oldies such as L’amour c’est fait de 1000 choses, or You are my sunshine.
The celebrations ended with Father Antonio Tibaldo leading the group in a recitation of appreciation for the years past, and a renewal of vows for the years to come.
“This was the first time a seniors’ residence in Quebec has done this,” said Lapointe. “When I called the Regroupement québécois des résidences pour aînés to tell them we were doing this, they said they would be nominating me for an honorable mention in recognition of this activity.”
“But it was really team work,” she quickly said. Everyone, staff and volunteers alike, worked overtime to make the event a success.
“You can see how thrilled we all are!” said Vachon-Vallières, who has worked at the Manoir for one year.
The Manoir de l’Eau Vive opened its doors in Cookshire six years ago, and Lapointe has been its director for two years. “We are full. We have 120 residents and 35 employees,” she said. The Manoir has a waiting list, and foresees building an extension of another 20 apartments. Approximately 20 percent of the residents are English-speaking, and so are many of the staff members.