Funeral of Claire Kirkland Casgrain


The Thirst for What is Right

You are here today to honour Claire Kirkland Casgrain and to support her family with your presence. She was a faith-filled woman who never stopped praying, a family-centred woman who carried her own in her heart constantly, and a rights-oriented woman who never ceased to seek justice for all.

There is no greater suffering than the loss of a loved one: a spouse, a mother, a grandmother, a friend. Often, it is only at the time of death that we truly appreciate just how much our parents are part of our lives and have formed who we are.

At first, death seems like an impenetrable wall, cutting off life and communication. Is death life's last word? Do the ties forged during the span of our lives end when we die? Are the wounds inflicted by life permanently healed?

Through our collective memory, we can recall and highlight Claire Kirkland Casgrain's commitment to public life, as has been reported in the media and various testimonials. The first female member of the National Assembly and cabinet minister in Quebec, she was a pioneer promoting the equal dignity of men and women, working for our heritage and culture, the environment, and the development of tourism. As a lawyer and a judge, she served those in need, concerned that justice and social equality be respected.

Faith in God opens our heart to hope, for in turning us toward the Author of life, we are able to hold Claire in our thoughts today, presenting her to the Lord so that he welcomes her into his Kingdom of eternal love. God who is eternal life has the power to give eternal life by involving us in his own life.

Jesus Christ shared our humanity to communicate this sharing in eternal life to us. He united himself to us in order to invite us to be united with him.

Jesus, on the cross, bore our sins, our suffering and our death. He bore our physical wounds and our broken hearts, our hurts and our experiences of rejection. He bore our physical pain and our moral dilemmas through love, prayer and forgiveness. Before dying, he conquered death, by making the ultimate gift of his life. He lived, loving up to the end, making a complete gift of his life. Through his death, he gave himself to his Father for us.

Death has a certain power but it could not stop Jesus Christ from rising from the dead. Jesus first conquered death by the way he died, but it was through rising again that he brought his victory over death to fruition, so that he could be not only a model for us of what it means to be human but also a source of life.

Jesus Christ is alive, and he has the power and the love to welcome Claire just as she is: with her humanity and her weaknesses, her thirst for justice and her wounds, her love and her entire life. From Jesus' pierced heart flows the mercy that reconciles and the peace that fills us with joy.

I would like to offer my most heartfelt condolences to Mr. Wyndham Strover, Claire's husband, and her children Lynne-Marie, Kirkland, and Marc, and to all her family members and friends. However painful your sadness or desolation may be, do not hesitate to call upon Jesus Christ who has the power to soothe with the balm of his love, to console with the oil of his kindness, and to strengthen with the bread of his presence.

God's plan for our future is eternity; he offers us the final word about life and love; he brings us together in his beauty, truth and goodness. Let us be inspired by the witness given by our sister Claire, and let us be brothers and sisters in humanity, compelled by the thirst for what is just in society and what it means to be human.

Let us take a few moments in silence to present Claire Kirkland Casgrain, as well as our sorrowful hearts, to our consoling Father.

+ Christian Lépine
Archbishop of Montreal

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