Artist

Esther Champagne

Born in Lanoraie in 1935, I grew up in a plain village.

My parents worked diligently to make sure their eight children would receive a Catholic upbringing and education. This era brought with it hope for each person wishing for change in their personal situation. It is within this movement that I developed my social justice mindset. Starting from elementary school, I recognized the injustices that many of my less privileged or less talented friends could face. In tandem, I was also discovering the dedication my teachers seemed to have transmitting their love of education and literature to their students. After my studies in education, I discovered a modern religious community that is currently opening doors in modern social engagement. The Sisters du Bon-Conseil of Montréal community, founded by Marie Gérin-Lajoie, is bounded by the pursuit of social justice and the improvement of the social conditions of women’s, and families’, lives. The founder’s own mother fought to obtain the rights to vote for women alongside pioneers like Thérèse Casgrain and Idola St-Jean. And throughout my 55 years in this community, I have seen first-hand the difficult economic conditions in which the families of Montreal neighbourhood of Centre-Sud find themselves within, as well as the youth of St-Michel and the immigrant communities who frequent the Centre Social d’Aide aux Immigrants (CSAI). My own life experience, coupled with my social engagement to these causes spoke to me, and made me examine the inequalities faced by some in society. Along with other communities, I too have become conscientious of my own social responsibility. Money is blind. But the ways in which personal and collective wealth is shared can make or destroy polarized social inequities. I am a fighter and defender of rights—human rights, the environment, better representation at the level of government—a goal fought with courage, respect and tenacity.

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