Ghislaine Sincennes was a busy farmer, mother of five, craftswoman, and volunteer, but she always made room in her life for more—more people at her kitchen table and more community causes to support.

During the summer, you could always find her on her International tractor, raking hay in the fields with her husband, Gérard. Spring would find her at the couple’s sugar shack, la Sucrerie Sincennes. Following a request to allow school children to visit, the Sincennes opened the sugar shack to the public, who delighted in learning about the process of producing some of Quebec’s most famous maple syrup. At both the farm and the sugar shack, Ghislaine and Gérard were wonderful hosts. Over the years, they welcomed countless young people from the Katimavik program, who loved being on their farm so much they sometimes chose to live there instead of returning to the group accommodations at Camp Gatineau. During the summer, Ghislaine often cooked for over a dozen people, including family, friends, neighbours, and Katimavik participants, who kept in close touch long after their stay on the farm was over.

When her husband’s illness prompted a move from the farm to the village, Ghislaine threw herself into work at her church, the Paroisse Ste-Cécile de Masham, where she sang in the church choir and helped organize the church’s 150th anniversary celebrations. She participated on countless committees, including the Cercle des fermières du Quebec, where she worked at the local and provincial levels. She was also a talented craftswomen, particularly skilled at knitting and quilting. An active member of the parents’ school committee, she was instrumental in lobbying to establish Masham’s high school, École secondaire des Lacs. In 2001, during the International Year of Volunteers, she was honoured as Volunteer of the Year for La Pêche. [PHOTO: COURTESY OF ANDRÉ SINCENNES]

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