Jean Lapierre's mother draws strength from faith and community, priest says

Jean Lapierre’s mother, Lucie, is leaning on the tight Magdalen Islands community, and her faith to live through the “unreal” loss caused by the plane crash that killed four of her children and a daughter-in-law, says her priest.

Magdalen Islanders and church helping the Lapierre family through immeasurable tragedy

RAW: Father Claude Gosselin helps the Lapierre family grieve

6 years ago
Duration 3:59
Father Claude Gosselin tells CBC that Jean Lapierre’s mother draws strength from her faith and tight-knit community.

Jean Lapierre's mother, Lucie, is leaning on the tight Magdalen Islands community and her faith to live through the "unreal" loss caused by the plane crash that killed four of her children and a daughter-in-law, says her priest.

Father Claude Gosselin told CBC News that such a loss is immeasurable and cannot be compared to any other life experience.

The family appreciates a lot the support coming from everywhere in the country.–Father Claude Gosselin

"There's no [way] to say, 'That's like …' That's not 'like.' It's a new experience and it's a sad one," says Gosselin. "We don't have any control over the event, but maybe we can have some control on how we digest it, to reflect about it."

Lucie Lapierre is grieving while surrounding herself with close family. "It's another way to reconnect with the event, with the big loss. Only a mother can feel what a mother can feel at that time. But she appreciates to be wrapped by people," Gosselin says.

Transportation Safety Board officials are expected to send the plane's wreckage to Ottawa for further analysis over the next few days.

One funeral for all the victims will take place on Friday in Bassin, the village of 1,200 people, where the family is from. A commemorative mass will happen on April 16 in Montreal.

Gosselin says Lapierre is "a strong believer" and so her faith provides support in a time where there are no words to express how she is feeling. He says there is no instruction manual to help him support the Lapierre family, so he relies on being present and listening.

Jean Lapierre, his wife, Nicole Beaulieu, and three of his siblings were killed on Tuesday in the plane crash. They were on their way to a funeral for Lapierre's father. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)
"The best way to journey with them is to help them express something from their inside about sadness, about rage, and it's different for everyone in the family. It's a privilege to journey with them," he says.

"Silence is also a comfort … the powerful way of silence and the powerful way of being present to them is helpful."

Magdalen Islanders' tradition of rallying

The Magdalen Islanders have a tradition of supporting each other. Before ferries and planes connected them to the mainland, they had no choice but be there for one another during difficult times.

"So Madame Lapierre, she's 80. She's coming from this tradition too. We don't have any choice. We have to go through [it] by ourselves," Gosselin says. "It's part of their tradition to take care of [each other] and not to wait for support from outside, because there was no way to have support from outsiders."

Gosselin adds that while the family is grieving privately at this time, they are grateful for the outpouring of well-wishes they've received.

"The family appreciates a lot the support coming from everywhere in the country," Gosselin says, fighting back tears. "[They] appreciate that support and feel that support."


  • An earlier version of this story identified Jean Lapierre's mother as Yolande Lapierre. Her first name, in fact, is Lucie.
    Apr 02, 2016 8:23 AM ET


Ryan Hicks is in his final year as a law student at McGill University and is a former Quebec political correspondent for the CBC. In 2018, he won the Amnesty International Media Award for his reporting from Guatemala about the root causes of migration from Central America to the United States.


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