In memory of Father Gerry
Pastor of the Saint Raphael the Archangel parish, Father Gerald Sinel (“Father Gerry”) worked as a priest for more than 42 years. He also served as chaplain of St. Mary’s Hospital Centre for several years. In August 2007, Father Gerry passed away from pancreatic cancer, at the age of 82.
A man of great faith, Father Gerry dedicated his life to taking care of others and encouraged each of us to do the same. He was known and appreciated for his unconditional love, devotion, great listening skills, contagious smile, and his infinite compassion for the ill, the dying, and their loved ones.
During his last days, Father Gerry considered himself privileged to benefit from the attentive care of the professionals at the West Island Palliative Care Residence. Many times, he expressed a wish for transforming the St. Raphael church into warm and welcoming home for people at the end of their life.
We are extremely proud and happy to be working towards the realization of his dream, which has become the project of an entire community.
Once upon a time, there was Romaine Ardizzon
A self-taught pianist and composer, Romaine Ardizzon had a dream: that her music might one day be known to the public. However, since one still needs to make a living while waiting for recognition, Romaine worked as a receptionist at Élogia and at L’Image d’Outremont, two of Groupe Maurice’s seniors’ homes.
Then one day, cancer struck. Touched by this tragic diagnosis and by the beauty of her music, Luc Maurice, founder and President of Groupe Maurice, decided to make Romaine’s dream a reality. He made sure everything was done for Romaine to record her first album. Her CD Plus loin que l’azur was produced with the help of Raymond Paquin, former producer and agent of Dédé Fortin of Les Colocs. Sadly, just as the recordings were completed, Romaine passed away.
Around the same time, the group of volunteers at St. Raphael’s was busy pushing forward its project of building a palliative care home and day centre, in memory of Father Gerry, the last Pastor of Saint Raphael the Archangel parish, who had also passed away from cancer a few years prior and who had so ardently wished to found a palliative care home in the heart of his community.
It turns out that it was Dr. Justine Farley, then Chair of the Board of Directors of St. Raphael’s, who accompanied Romaine Ardizzon until her last breath. It also turns out that Marie-Michèle Del Balso, First Vice President at Le Groupe Maurice, also sat on the Board of Directors of St. Raphael’s. And so the community found itself at the crossroads of two great dreams—Romaine’s and Father Gerry’s.
As a tribute to Romaine, her loved ones have donated the royalties from her CD to St. Raphael’s, and Groupe Archambault has generously committed to ensure its distribution. To date, more than 6,000 copies have been sold, helping to raise more than $120,000 for St. Raphael’s.
Romaine Ardizzon will have fulfilled not one, but two dreams: recording an album, and helping the St. Raphael Palliative Care Home and Day Centre come to be.
“She left us with a smile, knowing that these notes would resonate in the hearts of many.”
Sophie Thibault, anchorwoman at TVA, and a great friend of Romaine