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Twiss receives Grey Nuns' humanitarian award

By Sister Suzanne Forget, SGM Special to The Pilot
Posted: 5/13/2016

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Camilie Twiss, PhD, RN and Sister Jeanne Poor, SGM. Photo courtesy/Sisters of Charity of Montreal

Lexington -- The Sisters of Charity of Montreal, "Grey Nuns," presented their 18th St. Marguerite d'Youville Humanitarian Award to Camilie Twiss, PhD, RN, at Youville Place in Lexington, May 1. The Sisters honor their foundress St. Marguerite d'Youville by bestowing this award on individuals they feel best exemplify her values and mission.

St. Marguerite (1701-1771) spent a lifetime in service to the poor in Montreal, facing every new challenge with action, courage and compassion. She was proclaimed a saint in 1990. The award consists of an icon of St. Marguerite which today bore the inscription: "Camilie Twiss, PhD, RN -- Creative and Supportive Friend of the Poor."

The chapel was filled with joyful greetings and conversation among the numerous personal invitees of Twiss: her family, many friends, several Associates of St. Marguerite d'Youville, some residents as well as the Grey Nuns and their guests.

The award program included a prayer prepared by Sister June Ketterer, SGM.

In her welcoming remarks, Sister Jeanne Poor, SGM, area coordinator, praised Twiss on her rich and compassionate life as a committed Christian, devoted and faithful wife, loving and kind mother of two, and now an adored grandmother.

Over the years and supported by her husband, Twiss was always involved helping the less fortunate besides conscientiously fulfilling her many professional and family obligations. Twiss's husband, whom she loved and still misses, died over 10 years ago.

A woman of prayer, a quiet woman, Twiss is also a woman of strong vision. She puts her whole heart into the task at hand and in whatever she is called to be or do. After a career in pediatric nursing, Twiss became the director of the School of Nursing at St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua, N.H. until her retirement a few years ago.

In 1990, Twiss joined the Associates of St. Marguerite d'Youville, carrying on the mission of the Grey Nuns. Since 2010, she has been the director of the Associates of St. Marguerite d'Youville. Innumerable hearts are being touched and many poor are having their basic needs lovingly met through the creative efforts and hard work initiated by Twiss and her faithful Associates. Twiss is also involved in another service organization where the needs of the poor are met through creativity and collaboration with others.

After receiving the Award presented by Sr. Jeanne, Twiss said she was very pleased and surprised at being chosen for the 2016 Award, adding that, "All that I have done was with the help and support of many loyal and devoted associates. I did not do it alone."

She also gave credit to the late Connie Brodeur, former director of the Scho ol of Nursing, saying, "She always pushed me beyond what I felt capable of achieving."

Twiss said she was touched very much by the several times she went on a pilgrimage to Montreal to visit the places where St. Marguerite d'Youville lived and served the poor.

She said, "How can one stand in the same room where Marguerite d'Youville, foundress of the Grey Nuns, prepared and served food for the poor; climb the orchard hills at Chateauguay; or touch her prie-dieu without feeling an overwhelming awe of the woman she was, her works and her faith?"

Twiss received a standing ovation after the closing hymn to St. Marguerite d'Youville: "Joyful, joyful we acclaim you, faithful, trusting Marguerite."

Sister Suzanne Forget, SGM is provincial secretary of the Sisters of Charity of Montreal (Grey Nuns) in Lexington.