Before Gabrielle Roy became a famous writer acclaimed in La Francophonie, she was a teacher. He spent his first year of education at the École Saint-Louis A in Cardinal, about 100 kilometers southwest of Winnipeg. A milestone year for this village in the Pembina Valley.
Scotti Stephen, secretary of the Lourdes Historical Society who helped with the historical research, marvels that Gabrielle Roy’s memories of her years in the region and her students are so crystal clear.
Especially, she says, in the novel These children of my life written more than 40 years later.
The year teaching Cardinal left a deep impression on Gabrielle. When she talked about school in her books, she always came back to this school in Cardinalshe says.
† I had never read Gabrielle Roy’s books, although I knew her. But when I read These children of my life, it was very interesting to learn about the Pembina valley. She has such an impact on her readers and has put the Pembina Valley on the map †
Gabrielle Roy, who was 20 at the time, taught about 40 students of different nationalities.
Her class included Italians, Flemings and Germans, which she found interesting as a challenge, emphasize Ms Stephen and her wife, advisor to the Historical Society of Lourdes, Guy Vuignier.
The famous author edited and made school fun.
Keep in mind that Gabrielle had just graduated from normal school, so she had the latest teaching methods. And she was a real breath of fresh air to these students who loved her dearly.says Mrs Stephen.
A teacher with a lot of sweetness
Normand Boisvert, an education retiree and author of the books Schools of a Francophone character in Manitoba since 1818, lived near Cardinal.
He also suggested to the Lourdes Historical Society to create content about Gabrielle Roy for the local museum.
Although he did not have Gabrielle Roy as a teacher, his mother was lucky enough to see her in the region, even though she was not his student.
The future writer stopped at a house in the village and read to the children, something she also did in her class.
My mother told me that Gabrielle read very carefully and that everyone listened intently.says Mr Boisvert, who also underlines his quality of French.
This love of French, as Normand Boisvert called it, passed it on to the students, some of whom were among the first in the provincial French competition of the Association d’éducation des Canadiens français du Manitoba.
Scotti Stephen hopes that this historic section included in the museum will enable Gabrielle Roy to shine in the community and inform the region’s residents that a
famous person lived a stone’s throw from them†
In Quebec, people think she’s Quebecer, but she’s Franco-Manitoban. We want the community to realize that things here at Cardinal have had humble beginnings.
Guy Vuignier hopes so
That [l’exposition] will serve as an educational resource for high school students†
Normand Boisvert would like people to leave this exhibition
show their pride in the fact that their parents or grandparents had Gabrielle Roy as a teacher and at the same time contribute to the preservation of La Francophonie.
† She was a devoted teacher, concerned about these students. She will have left her mark on Cardinal! It’s been 90 years and this montage is a good way to remember his contribution to the village of Cardinal. †
In addition, as part of the inauguration of this novelty at the Museum of Pioneers and Canons of Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, the Père-Champagne library has featured in one section all the works of Gabrielle Roy.