Blanche-Canelle, 2006.  183 x 64 cm. Collection Vicki & Stan Zack.

Blanche-Canelle, 2006. 183 x 64 cm. Collection Vicki & Stan Zack.

Blanche-Cannelle, 2006

Inspired by my visits, as a young girl, to the Mother House of the Sisters of Notre-Dame with my mah. Blanche, my great aunt, was a nun who lived there. The sight, smell, and sweetness of those visits to see Blanche remain vivid in my memory: She gave me and my sister each a plastic glow-in-the-dark rosary, that I immediately placed around my neck, like a gift-necklace… this made Blanche smile… ‘cute’ she must have thought… Blanche would bring us to the cafeteria, where we would sit at long wooden refectory tables with her. Each Sister had their respective seat, with a drawer of their own just beneath the table surface. Inside Blanche’s drawer was a bag of hard cinnamon fish candy… she would offer my sister and I a fish – so red, so tempting, so perfect – I remember how hot the cinnamon was in my mouth – fire actually – my younger sister did not finish hers… spat it out… but I resisted the overwhelming cinnamon sting, letting the heat of this fire-fish melt completely in my mouth. I remember thinking how wonderful it was, to have sweet fire in my mouth… given to me by Sister Blanche… in this convent house… I had an insider view of the Sisters, their laughter, their sincerity, their genuineness.. their black+white habit, the solemnness of this ancient creaky building, so beautiful, chapel so majestic…. The walk form the sidewalk, through the terrain of large old trees, from sidewalk to majestic door-front (this walk, to my young self, appeared endless… ) my mah would linger for some time beneath the trees with us after our visits.. a magical place… connecting with a higher, spiritual intensity, and at the same time, the rooted majestic trees, historical witnesses to times passing in this Montréal site.

Older, I attended cégep Dawson… walked the renovated halls… chapel transformed into the library (my favorite space, listened to Carmina Burana while studying there, every other day during my DEC)… Blanche-Cannelle…. a piece, a space, just one of many moments in time that shaped me…