October 25, 2018 — My first contact with Father Rocheleau goes back to my second year of novitiate, in 1955. He was appointed to assist the young master of novices, Hervé Gaulin, who had joined the Company the same year as him. Above all, I remember being impressed by his deep, well modulated voice and seriousness, which made me believe, as with the other novices, that everything that came out of his mouth was very important. One of the tasks assigned to the socius was to comment on the common rules. He did this by reading notes that he had probably received from his predecessors and that he had not had time to study well. He would sometimes read a passage from his notes, then react with a frown, to signify that he did not see the relevance of what he had just said.
I found myself in the same community as Father Rocheleau in 1975, when I was the superior at Center Vimont and I had to look after the well-being of more than 50 companions of which I was the youngest. Father Rocheleau had, as his main activity, the ministry of the Spiritual Exercises, which he had begun to practice in 1966, and which led him to regularly leave the community. He would stay in this ministry right up until the closing of the Center Vimont, in 2012. For more than forty years, he would direct the 30-days of the Spiritual Exercises almost every year and up to three times in the same year. His audience was mainly composed of nuns, many of whom came to meet with him regularly and to whom he faithfully sent a letter of good wishes at Christmas, with his apostolic itinerary of the year which was about to begin and on which were listed the dates of the retreats he was going to give and the communities of nuns to whom he would address himself.
He never had the physique of an athlete. But he has always given importance in his life to walking and swimming to keep fit. When he could, especially at villa, he liked to devote himself to gardening, removing brush. This is what he continues to do, at age 101, at Villa Saint-Martin.
Father Jean-Marie Rocheleau is for me the incarnation of the gentleman, or even more of the distinguished and reserved Jesuit, while being open to others and manifesting this in his manner of entering into relationships, with a smile on his lips and always respectful and kind speech to everyone he meets . He is surely a worthy representative of the missionary excurrens, in the manner of Saint Peter Favre, who did not hesitate to go as far as possible to help people wishing to deepen their relationship with God.
Bernard Carrière, SJ
Today is my one hundred and first birthday. Thank you, Lord.
I acknowledge that you have been wonderful to me during these 101 years of life. I have a thousand reasons to thank you for all that you have given me in life. After my classical studies with the Holy Cross Fathers at Saint-Laurent and at the diocesan college of Saint-Hyacinthe, I entered the Jesuits in 1935.
My uncle, Bro. Raymond Rocheleau, had entered before me and was doing all sorts of work as a coadjutor brother.
At the age of 17, I too entered the Jesuits to undertake the long formation. Then the day came when I was called as a priest to give 8-day or 30-day retreats following the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius to people who wished to respond to the Lord’s call.
I invite you to thank God with me for having called me to exercise this apostolate of Ignatian retreats of 8 days and of 30 days. He did me a great favour.
Thank you, Lord, for the 101 years of life that you have given me in good health, exercising the wonderful ministry of Ignatian retreats, up until the last one in 2008. I hope that others will take up the work for the greater glory of God.
Thank you to all who have helped me carry out God’s plans for me and have accompanied me with prayer during these 101 years, especially in my years of ministry.
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