Written by Anna Chumbe 

Ariane is one of our invaluable volunteers who brighten the halls of Maison St-Raphaël. She discovered the organization by happy accident: a year ago, while taking a walk through the neighbourhood, she noticed the building and looked it up online out of curiosity. She was taken with the mission and values of Maison St-Raphaël and decided to become a volunteer. She has been with us ever since. She helps out wherever necessary, doing a bit of everything: reception, kitchen, accompaniment – wherever she is needed, she turns her caring personality and wholehearted attention to the job at hand. As a psychology student at the University of Montreal, you can say hi to her mostly on weekends, when her schedule allows her more time to help out at Maison St-Raphaël.

Ariane comes across as respectful and empathetic. When asked how she would describe herself, she laughs and says, “I’m the mom in my friend group.” She likes to take care of people and to give, and she can be counted on to be there for others. What she loves the most about spending time at Maison St-Raphaël is the contact with people: she loves to listen, hear about people’s lives, and have meaningful conversations that bring one back to what is important. With her attentive manner and caring personality, Ariane embodies the ideal listener and welcoming volunteer.

For Ariane, Maison St-Raphaël represents a place where one can arrive and feel instantly at home. She notes that what particularly struck her about the house when she first arrived is that it gives the impression of being full of light: a luminous place. It is the values of the organization that convert it into a milieu de vie. She says that’s what makes her feel at home. She feels good here because it permits her to give to others.

Ariane has many hobbies and a busy schedule. Outside of Maison St-Raphaël, you can find her at home taking care of her budding jungle of house plants, at the pool unwinding, or simply taking a walk through the neighbourhood. She enjoys literature, in particular, slam poetry and Quebecois literature. (Recommendations? Check out the slam poetry of David Goudreault, or the works of Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau and Joséphine Bacon).

If she were to recommend a book or work that talked about death in particular, the first thing that comes to mind is the Diary of Anne Frank, which she read last year before a trip she took through Europe with her mother, visiting memorial sites of WWII in different cities, among them Amsterdam and Berlin. The trip allowed her to dwell on the legacy of the people who had passed through these places. If she could decide here and now what her legacy will be, it would be that people think of her as someone both caring and passionate; someone who knows how to be serious and how to have fun – in other words, the image we have of her at Maison St-Raphaël.

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