17 Timeline for the life of Florence Poulin

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In chronological order, here is the timeline for the life of Florence Poulin

Date Event
1869 Aug 24 Florence firstborn at St. Joseph de Beauce.
Florence attends elementary school at Grand Montagne.
1883 Florence is 14 years old – from now until 35 years old in 1904, Florence cares for her dying mother, then nurses her grandmother until her death, and raises ALL her siblings, cooking meals, helping her father in any way possible.
1887 18 to 20 years old (1887-1889) Florence completes short teaching assignment in record time – 2 years and with high honors and recognition. She formally applies to enter convent.
1889 Florence returns home to say good-byes before entering convent, Elisa’s health diminishes.
1889 Florence is accepted into the convent, but her mother, Elisa falls into ill health.
Florence quits school to help sickly mother with house chores & siblings.The convent guaranties that Florence can return and resume her teaching and religious life when she is free from family obligations. 
1891 Elisa dies Aug 17, 1891. Florence is 22 and will remain home to raise 9 siblings.
Her dreams of entering the convent are over. 
1891 Florence cares for Elisabeth’s mother for 9 months when Henrietta suffers a stroke; she is paralyzed and often incoherent.
At night, Florence hears the prayer bell from the nearly priest’s chapel. This chapel is near the school where all of Evariste’s children attended.
1898 Eugene Almeria marries.
Florence is depressed, and feels that her dreams will never come true.  She stops studying in books, and accepts her life.
1901 Oct 22 Death of Henrietta Martin at St. Joseph of Beauce at 77.
Henrietta was Elisa’s mother.
1901 Oct 26 Burial of of Henrietta Martin at St. Joseph of Beauce.
1903 Sept 20 Eugenie Almeria dies, one of Florence’s siblings.
1904 Florence is an aged 35 years, sickly and she becomes half-blinded by some accident.
Florence has spent 22 years raising her siblings from age 13 to now (1882-1904) and helping her father on the farm.
1904 May 20 Florence enters the convent for the 2nd time but not without a fight, or strong persuasion back and forth with the convent.
They GUARANTEED her that she could return. Now older, they don’t want her.
When they finally do accept her, Florence enters the convent as an Auxialy nun.
She will never be a fully-fledged religious nun(with a path to teaching children).
She will always be an unskilled worker.
1904 Florence is now 35. From now until 70 years old at the time of her death, she will serve in low skilled jobs for the next 35 years.
1905 Jan 31 Philomene, Florence’s youngest sister marries.
1906 July 30 Florence takes Postulant vows.
1906 Sister Florentin is cook at Caçouna Convent and at the Orphanage of Saint-Sauveur.
She works as a cook for 19 years (1906-1924).
1911 July 31 Florence takes her final vows presided by the Archbishop of Quebec, the Most Holy Monseigneur Paul-Eugene Roy (8 November 1859 – 20 February 1926),  a Canadian Roman Catholic priest, and Archbishop of Quebec.
1923 April 11 Florence undergoes a surgical operation that was very serious with no promise of favorable results.  She recovered amazingly fast. Her recovery takes a few months and she rests well during that time.
1924 Sister Florence stops cooking at Caçouna Convent and at Orphanage of Saint-Sauveur.
1924 Florence is now tasked to writing letters for patience and has copious amounts of work to perform. She has burned herself out and is suffering from a failing liver.
1924 End of the year, Florence is reassigned to the Hospice of Saint Joseph de la Deliverance at Lévis – first as a caregiver of the ill, then as a patient. She will work as a caregiver day and night to the dying for 14 more years.
1928 Nov 1 Florence visits her father, Evariste on his deathbed shortly before his death.
1928 Nov 12 Evariste dies at 87.
1933 July 11 Florence signs her Testament. She must have been sickly at that time.
1939 Sister Florence becomes more and more frail.
Her duties are modified to meet her physical limitations.
Finally the Motherhouse announces that she will retire.
Sister Florence maintains her post nevertheless.
1939 Sept 2 Florence asks to receive communion over and over.
She knows that the end is near.
1939 Sept 13 A major uproar from elder patients begins.
Doctor Fortin personally convinces Sister Florence that it is necessary for her to retire.
She agrees.
1939 Sept 16 Florence dies at 70 years old, 35 years in religious life – 14 years as caregiver.
Two brothers (Nazaire and Arthur Poulin) and 1 sister attend the funeral with Henri Giroux and Francis Lessard. 


If you look at the photo of Florence on her death bed, you can see that her body is raised.  Under the blanket is her nun’s robe but the bottom of that robe is pushed up to her waist, Two boards hold her body up, one with a round hole cut out so that loosen bowels would fall into a bucket hidden underneath the floor-length blanket. This is how the dead were professionally presented for sometimes up to a week.

In a private home, surviving family members, usually females, would sit on the stomach of the deceased to press out the bowels and make a multi-day and night presentation of the deceased more palatable for receiving relatives. When relatives from far off arrived, they were fed immediately, then given drink, then would view the corpse.


For poor farmers whose farmhouse included a great room (kitchen and dining area in one) and no salon, viewing the dead was rather unappetizing and that is why visitors were fed immediately upon arriving. Get the food into them while they have an appetite and that was considered  proper hospitality and honorable behavior.

 

Joyce

Joyce Derenas is a historical fiction author who writes stories based on the real lives of her French-Canadian ancestors of the Beauce Valley in Quebec.