A witnessing account by Paulette Ch. interviewed by Louise F. for a video, “A Door Open onto Life,” broadcast on the community cable, Nous TV (We TV).
Production and editing: Louise F.
Production of St-François d'Assise Parish in Drummondville
To view the video (available in French only) go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1Gy7MhC4qo.
Marguerite Lambert aka Maggie, age 86, has been an Oblate since 1955. Born and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts USA. She is a well-known Oblate in the Institute.
Maggie was a bilingual secretary for the Provincial of the Oblate Fathers in Lowell for many years. She then spent some time in Texas/Louisiana area for a few years. From there I believe she went to the Bahamas with Lise Jacques and Therese Gagnon.
When she returned she went to the Central House in Three Rivers, P.Q., Canada for a while and helped translate documents from French to English.
She return to the United States and worked at the United Way of Merrimack Valley in Lawrence, Massachusetts as a secretary/bookkeeper. She remained there until retirement. During her work years at the United Way, she moved 10 miles away to her family home. It is here that Maggie discovered her apostolic project that will carry her up to this date.
At the time her parents, still living, were dedicated to their special needs daughter who was born with mental disabilities. The parents have since passed away leaving Maggie the care of her sister Estelle, age 75 and now a second sister age 84, with crippling rheumatoid arthritis. When asked how did her mission come to light? “It has to come from above. I’m the oldest and physically better than my two sisters.” The second sister, Claudette is no longer able to drive and help care for Estelle. So the responsibility is solely on Maggie.
When asked: Where do you get your energy, dynamism to do all that you do?
“The second five, I try to be a peacemaker all the time. Besides in some way they are a lot of help to me.
Since I am deaf now, my sisters are my ears. If water is boiling on the stove, Estelle alerts me. Estelle also reminds me it is time for the Mass on TV. etc. Claudette constantly prays for me.” Claudette said:
“How can she do it while I cannot.”
Estelle does receive some home health assistance a few times a week. They come in to give some respite to Maggie. They will take Estelle out for a ride, stop at the senior center or take a walk. Estelle has to be dressed in the morning and undressed at night. Her meals must be cut up for her and every day Maggie has to bring Estelle to get her daily treat, a smoothie. Estelle always goes where Maggie goes for the ride.
“What I do for my sisters, I feel I would do the same for anyone else in need! All that I have learned as an Oblate is tremendous. I would not think the same way if I were not an oblate. The training via the 555 has made me much more alert of others.”
“I am very careful not to fall. I have brittle bones. I cannot afford to get hurt because I am needed to care for my two sisters. Also I have another sister, Pauline in her 82 who is now in an assisted living with her husband who is also very ill and cannot drive anymore. So I sometimes have to take them to appointments.
I truly believe her sense of humor is what keeps Maggie in such good spirits along with her Oblate consecration. To illustrate some of her humor. When Maggie emerges with Estelle in the morning after dressing her
she blurts out: “Here comes the bride!” Or she tells Estelle: “You should not play your writing adding so much, you will get too smart!” When they go eat in a restaurant she will give the name “Smith” rather than her
name just to have fun! “My sense of humor keeps me sane.”
Really Estelle is a special person and brings both of us a lot of joy. All day when given a chance Estelle has to hold my hand. I tell her my hand is for sale. That brings a laugh or two. She is really an asset in a lot of ways.
“My faith is what keeps me going. Before I go to bed every night I thank the Lord for this day. I feel we have been protected in many ways.”
“I sleep well at night, 8 to 9 hours, I make sure I eat well, but I am sure my energy comes from God otherwise I would not know how I could do it.
“What you do to the least one, it is to me that you do it.” Maggie in a small way is a pearl, a gem to her family to her surroundings and also to the Oblates. We thank you so much Maggie for being who you are and to live so well the mission entrusted to you.