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Yvonne Bergeron, CND

In solidarity with women and the marginalized

Yvonne Bergeron was born on November 12, 1933 in the town of Alma in the Lac Saint-Jean region. From her family life rooted in the land, she retained a fondness for the promises of spring and an awareness of the passage of time. From a mother committed to defending the condition of countrywomen, she learned that women’s lives are very much linked to the search for justice. From her activism in Catholic action initiatives, she inherited a marked interest in social transformation, in international development and in changing inadequate ecclesial structures.

After her elementary and high school studies in Alma, she enrolled in the École normale de Baie-Saint-Paul, under the direction of the Soeurs de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame. In 1951, she obtained an advanced diploma in Education, and later, a full-teaching licence (brevet d’enseignement, classe A) and a Bachelors degree in Education. After teaching elementary school for four years, she entered the Congregation’s noviciate in 1955 and made her first profession in 1957. After teaching high school for several years and obtaining a Bachelors of Arts degree, she pursued graduate and post-graduate studies in Theology at the Université de Montréal. Having obtained a Specialized Doctorate in Pastoral Theology, she became a professor in the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the Université de Sherbrooke and coordinator of Social Pastoral Services at the Diocese of Sherbrooke. Her work (reflections, interventions, research, publications) revolves around the relationship between theology and the following issues: the Church’s mission today, the renewal of the Church’s ministries, economic and ecological justice, international solidarity, and the balance of gender relations in society and in the Church.

As a collaborator to an independent network of women involved in the Church called Réseau Femmes et Ministères, of which she was a twenty-year member, she published Partenaires en Église. Femmes et hommes à part égale in 1991. As a 17-year member of the committee established by the Quebec Assembly of Catholic Bishops in solidarity with this partnership in the Church, she and the committee organized a symposium that took place in August 1996. Under the theme “Le Partenariat hommes et femmes en Église,” the event brought together theologians, persons in authority and persons with particular interest in this issue. This event was an opportunity to assess the basis of the partnership from the multiple historical, anthropological, biblical, ecclesiological and pastoral dimensions involved.

Yvonne Bergeron was a member of the board of directors of the Carrefour de solidarité international; participated and co-chaired the Journées sociales du Québec; was a member of the board of directors of the Chaudronnée de l’Estrie, over which she also presided. To meet the needs of the community, she contributed in founding various projects: the Grande Table, Commun’Action Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc, la Table d’Action Contre l’Appauvrissement de l’Estrie (TACAE), and le Comité de la décennie pour l’élimination de la pauvreté. The importance she attributed to international solidarity led her to become a member of the Comité Sherbrooke-Salvador, which became the Comité estrien pour l’Amérique centrale. After fifty years, she continues to be involved with Development and Peace, whose mission extends to many Southern Hemisphere countries.

In recognition of this commitment, she received the Lieutenant-Governor’s Medal in April 2017 and, in May of the same year, the “Prix Guy-Paiement des Journées sociales du Québec” (with Father Florent Villeneuve of Chicoutimi).

In addition to numerous articles, here are some publications:

Yvonne BERGERON, Fuir la société ou la transformer ? Deux groupes de chrétiens parlent de l’Esprit, Montreal, Fides, 1986.

Yvonne BERGERON, Partenaires en Église. Femmes et hommes à part égale, Montreal, Éditions Paulines, 1991.

Yvonne BERGERON, Simon DUFOUR, André MYRE, Jean-Marc GAUTHIER, Rémi PARENT, Gilles RAYMOND, Des ministères nouveaux ? Montreal, Éditions Paulines et Médiaspaul, 1985.

Lise BARONI, Yvonne BERGERON, Thérèse BOUCHARD, Simon DUFOUR, Jean-Marc GAUTHIER, André MYRE, Rémi PARENT, Gilles RAYMOND, Chemin faisant… En quête d’Église, Montreal, Éditions Paulines et Médiaspaul, 1991.

Lise BARONI, Yvonne BERGERON, Pierrette DAVIAU, Micheline LAGUË, Voix de femmes, voies de passage. Pratiques pastorales et enjeux ecclésiaux, Montreal, Éditions Paulines, 1995.

Françoise Deroy-Pineau, Lorraine Caza. Femme de prière, femme d’action, Montréal, Médiaspaul, 2015, 227 p.

Sœur Marie-Noëlle Chaumette et Sébastien Lacroix, L’espérance de sœur Lorraine, dans Béatitude, automne 2010, p. 7.

Maude Redmond Morisette et Alina Nogradi, Récit de vie : Sœur Lorraine Caza, théologienne dans Le patrimoine immatériel religieux du Québec, 25 février 2019, [en ligne]