Grief reigns now within the convent walls,
And sadly float through its silent halls
The notes of a requiem - solemn, clear,
Falling like wail on each listening ear,
And with tearful eyes and features pale,
With low bowed head and close drawn veil,
To the convent church, round a bier to kneel,
The daughters of Marguerite Bourgeoys steal.
Scant is the mourning pomp displayed,
Nor plumes nor hangings of gloomy shade,
But rev'rend prelates and priests are there,
With crowds of mourners joining in prayer;
Each sister's heart is filled with grief,
To which faith alone can bring relief,
Deploring the loss of that sainted nun,
Friend, mother and abbess, all in one.
Yet why should sorrow fill thus each breast?
That well loved one has entered her rest,
To live in eternal, cloudless light,
To live in our memories, blessed and bright;
Her chair may be vacant - her place unfilled -
But her mission high was all fulfilled.
And the thought of how well she did her part
Will ever dwell in each sister's heart.
Sixty-one years passed in convent home,
Amassing wealth for a world to come,
Sixty-one years of constant prayer,
Of cloister duties fulfilled with care,
Of gentle aid to each sister dear,
Kind tender counsel - sympathy's tear,
Of high commune with her Maker, known
Perchance to herself and to God alone.
Sixty-one years, oh! think of it well,
Since first she entered the convent cell!
On her cheek youth's soft and roseate dyes,
Its radiant light in her cloudless eyes,
Turning from earth's alluring wiles,
From worldly promptings, from pleasure's smiles,
From love's soft pleading look and tone,
To give herself unto God alone.
Since then she has witnessed many a change,
In the world around her, startling, strange;
Her much loved Order growing in strength
Throughout America's breadth and length;
Our young city stretching far and wide,
Till it reaches Mount Royal's verdant side,
Where, fair as an Eden, through leafy screen,
Villa Maria is dimly seen.
Timeworn foreheads and brows of snow
Has the one we mourn seen in dust laid low;
Fair girlish novice and nun professed,
Quietly gathered to earth's dark breast;
But with thoughts on heaven, she, through all,
Patiently waited her Father's call,
It came, and now she lays gladly down
Her long borne cross to take up her crown.
Montreal, January, 1869.