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> Issue 56 > Page 89 - Pere Anselme Chiasson: Conversation and a Family Album

Page 89 - Pere Anselme Chiasson: Conversation and a Family Album

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1991/1/1 (172 reads)

same room with another guy. He woke up the other guy telling him, "I'm sure my mother is dead." I believe in that, because that's natural. It's energy or something. That's natural.... But, that the dead may appear--it's not impossible, but I have no experience of that. There is a lady here in Moncton that says that she has seen the Blessed Virgin. The Blessed Virgin has appeared in Lourdes in France. I've been there. There have been so many miracles. She's actually now in Yugoslavia.... Something that I have not seen. But it hap? pened during my lifetime. The person died in 1968. We had a father. Capuchin father-- Italian--Fr. Pio. He had stigmata--both hands, heart, and feet. Since 1918. And it was a real hole, eh--could see through it. (In his hand.) Yeah. And feet, too. It stayed open, never healed. And more than that, there was like a perfume coming out. And he had that from 1918 to 1968. See? He wore gloves to hide his hands.... At his death, when he died, everything disappeared. His hand became just like mine. His feet, everything. No trace at all of his stigmata. And the church has sent doctors, to analyze, to be sure that it is not a trick or anything. And he had appeared in Canada and South America during his life. He was in two places at the same time. My Superior in Canada, one day--there was a person dying at the hospital in Mon? treal. Fr. Pio was still living at the time. So my Superior went to see that sick person, was dying. And he put an image of Fr. Pio--image--portrait--picture--under his pillow, of the sick person, before leaving. He came the next day. The person was cured. So he asked him what had happened. He said, "It's a Capuchin father who came during the night, and cured me." So my Su? perior showed him the picture, and it was Fr. Pio that had come during the night to cure that sick person. Fr. Pio died in 1968. He was saying mass at 5 o'clock in the morning. And the church was always--a big church--was al? ways full. Full, full, full. And during mass he was in ecstasy--living the passion of Christ on the cross.... See, the Church is always afraid that it'll be something not true. So they put it to a test, eh? There were theologians, there were doctors that went to see him. He was forbidden to confess--to hear con? fession- -for awhile. But afterwards, when all those tests were done, he was accept? ed. And now he's going to be proclaimed a From tlie famiiy aibum: This is one of my little brother. He was 4 years old when he died, l-ie died around 1920, something iilte that. And it's an important picture for me • for ail of us • because it shows how (when a) per? son was dead, he was exposed for two days. And at that time we were waking • see, we call that a wake • two days and two nights. People were there. There was no funeral home, nothing like that. There was no funeral en? trepreneur at ail. (Does that mean somebody was actually with the body all that time?) Absolutely. (They wouldn't leave the body alone?) No, no, no, not at the time. (Did they have a rea? son for that?) Tradition, I suppose. But it was not only the family; it was all the neighbours who were coming around. Most of the time the family was tired because they had taken care of the person who was sick for days and days. But the neighbours came, anyway, and would / wake the dead ail night. The house was used. They were exposed in the house where they died. And the people would wake them. All the day • people were coming in and coming out, say a prayer, offer their sympathy to the family. But at night the house was nearly full. Till midnight. And after midnight, most of the time there were only about 5 or 6, half a dozen, still staying up to wake the dead. And you see, that is just planks on barrels, covered with a (white bedsheet). There's a candle. And you had holy water. And then the wall was with the religious images. There was certainly a crucifix somewhere; we don't see here. (Pictures of saints?) Yeah. And then It was the same thing for others. The coffins for the children were draped in white cloth, while for adults it was black. (The child seems to be wearing white.) Oh, yeah. All the children do. (White shoes even.) Certainly they were bought for the'circumstances, because I would be surprised if they had white shoes. And, most of the time • tt was taken off for the picture • the dead had a handker? chief on their face. Because it was not always something nice to see. (Would people lift it and look?) Oh, yeah, most of them did. (I know there were prayers and conversation.) Even hymns. Especially the rosary was said, several times. (What about storytelling?) After midnight. After midnight • not long tales, but funny tales. It was not the family that was staying up. It was strangers, neighbours, and things like that. So they were easily telling jokes • keep them awake. Laughing easily • oh, yeah. (And they'd be with the body.) Yeah, In the same room. Or sometimes • I doni know if you know how the Acadian rooms were, the houses were divided. There was a big room where the stove was and where people were living. And usually they had two rooms downstairs • bedrooms, or a dining room. Sometimes they would have put the dead person in one of those rooms. And the people would have been in the big living room • see, where the stove and everything was. And people who came In would go to the other room, say a prayer, and then come in the living room with the others. But this one (this photograph) was in the big living room. That's a good picture. I was glad to have it. I have another one of this, but taken that way. We see the head and his face.
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