[Relique/ Relic ID # 656-6329]
Relique/ Relic ID # 656-6329
Classification: N/A until sainthood conferred through canonization. Veneration has been sanctified by the Vatican.
Source: Of the collection of Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), originally sourced from Saint-Jacques Cathedral during demolition leading to the construction of the Pavillon Judith-Jasmin.
Description: Calcified soft bronchial tissue (including partial lung) of Marie-Émilie-Eugène Tavernier (Émilie Gamelin), 1800-1851, Fr. Canadian
*Please see the Specimen Gallery for correlating images of the artifact.
Biological/Forensic Inquiry: Of several possible causes of soft tissue calcification in the specimen, the record of cholera as cause of death suggests a high probability of Pasteurella multocida, respiratory microbiota present in domestic animals, including house pets, which causes cholera in fowl and Zoonosis in humans. Vector transfer of pathogens from animals to humans is the cause of Zoonosis, with cholera a known zoonotic. Zoonotic cholera which infects humans can be transmitted via cat or dog bites and scratches. Zoonosis is suspected here due to the specific tissues affected by calcification.
Pathological calcification occurs as an abnormality due to mineral imbalances in the body, in particular Vitamin K deficiency. Vitamin K1-deficiency may occur by disturbed intestinal uptake (a major symptom of cholera/Zoonosis). Additionally, postmenopausal and elderly women have high risk of Vitamin K2 deficiency; deposition of calcium in soft tissues. Resulting pathology: Calcified soft tissue resulting from Vit K1-deficiency (Zoonosis) and possible existing Vitamin K deficiency due to age.
Details: MgSO4 10/06/13 | Sat. sol. 10% | D. O. C. 02/08/14 | WFH | protocell liquid suspension in polyhedron4: triangular dipyramid
Comments: Blessed Émilie Gamelin was founder of the Sisters of Providence of Montreal. Beatified by Pope John Paul I, 2001. The process leading to sainthood is presently in progress. Gamelin is credited with one documented healing miracle after her death.
Common history: Marie-Émilie-Eugène Tavernier was born in 1800 in Montréal, youngest of fifteen children. Raised by an aunt and uncle (Perrault) following her mother’s death, she was boarded at the school of the Congregation of Notre Dame between ages 14-15. She moved to her brother’s house at age 18 and turned an unused room of his house into a dining room for the poor. Gamelin returned to the Perrault household at age 19 to live under care of older cousin, Agathe while helping tend to her infirm aunt. During these years, Gamelin spent time as a debutante in Montréal fashionable society and was frequently seen at the social events of the city. At age 22, following the death of her aunt, she moved into a house in Montréal West with Agathe. That same year she wrote to Agathe that, “I renounce forever the young dandies and also the [vanities of this] world; I shall become a religious some time in the autumn.” Despite her stated interest in consecrated life, at age 23 she married a financially-comfortable 50-year old bachelor who supported her belief in charity. They had three children, two of whom died after birth and the remaining child perishing two years later, following Gamelin’s husband’s death in 1827.
Gamelin began charitable work to assuage her grief after the loss of her family, and joined the Confraternity of the Holy Family, followed by work with the Charitable Institution for Female Penitents. As a young widow, she was struck by the misery of single and isolated elderly women and in 1829, took four elderly women into her own home. This was done despite the ridicule of her friends who thought it foolish for an attractive young woman to devote herself to old women. Anecdotal accounts include mention of Gamelin’s penchant for taking in stray cats as companions for the elderly women in her care. By 1830, she opened a larger formal shelter for sick and frail elderly women in a house provided by the parish priest of the Church of Notre-Dame but quickly outgrew the shelter again.
It has been noted that Émilie Gamelin had a gift for convincing well-to-do friends to support her ministry. In 1836, she expanded to another property donated by a wealthy philanthropist, calling the new shelter The Yellow House. The Yellow House was incorporated as the Montreal Asylum for Aged and Infirm Women by the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada in 1941. The women who formed the corporation purchased additional land for a separate facility, the Asylum of Providence, and appointed Gamelin director. The Bishop of Montréal traveled to France to persuade a religious order to return to Canada to take charge of the asylum, to “put it on sound footing”. Failing in this mission, he founded a new religious community in Montréal with the intention of taking over management of the asylum. Gamelin took the religious habit of the Bishop’s new congregation in 1843, after an educational exchange with the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph in Emmitsburg, Maryland (US). She had returned from her studies with a new model for religious community. In 1844, the bishop conferred canonical status on the new congregation of 13 women, which came to be known as the Sisters of Providence. Gamelin was elected Superior General and granted title of Mother Gamelin. The sisters were known for many years for running a soup kitchen (l’Œuvre de la Soupe) for the homeless community. After the demolition of the building, which was torn down under the direction of Jean Drapeau to build the Montréal metro (station Berri), homeless people continued to camp out at the same spot. The City of Montréal created a public municipal park at the demolition site to drive out the homeless with park regulations that restrict access at night. Ironically, the city named the park after Émilie Gamelin, and the location continues to attract homeless people.
In 1844, the sisters launched Hospice St-Joseph for elderly priests, established an employment office is 1845, and opened a school at Longue-Pointe (now Hochelaga) in Montréal. In 1846, they opened a shelter at La Prairie, Québec. During the 1847 typhus epidemic of Montréal, Mother Gamelin aided in the treatment of victims, after which she assumed responsibility for Hospice Saint-Jérôme-Émilien, a facility for children of immigrant-Irish typhus victims. In 1849, she established the Hôpital Saint-Camille to help respond to that year’s cholera epidemic, as well as establishing a convent at Sainte-Élisabeth, Quebec and petitioning the Attorney General of Lower Canada for permission to establish an insane asylum at Longue-Pointe. Her extensive labours took a toll on her health, and she is reported to have contracted cholera, turned blue and died within 12 hours (1851).
Conclusions: On her deathbed, Gamelin is variously recorded as uttering, “Humility… simplicity… char…” and lapsing into unconsciousness before completing her last word (charity), as well as alternately, “Humility, Simplicity and Charity… above all, Charity.” Ironically, as demonstrated, it was her charity which killed her at age 51, not only due to exhaustion but also due to taking in stray cats (half-feral and likely to be infected with Pasteurella multocida as well as to scratch) for the elderly women she housed all of her adult life.
Scientific implications of the relic specimen: TBD
Status: MISSING. Last seen at 04/12/14