Laken Tchoutouo, 4, lights her sister's baptismal candle with the help of their father, Hypolyte Tchoutouo, and Deacon Simon Nadeau, during a Dec. 9 commemorative Mass at St.-Pierre-aux-Liens Church in Quebec City. Michelle Solaye Mane Tchoutouo, 8, was accidentally killed by a snowplow in Quebec City Dec. 1. CNS photo/Philippe Vaillancourt, Presence

Tales of joy rise from girl’s tragic death in Quebec

By  Philippe Vaillancourt, Catholic News Service
  • December 15, 2017
QUEBEC CITY – When Deacon Simon Nadeau baptized six-year-old Michelle Solaye Mane Tchoutouo two years ago, he never thought he would have to help her family and the city’s Cameroonian community grieve her death.

Despite the pain, a certain atmosphere of hope and solidarity reigned Dec. 9 in St.-Pierre-aux-Liens Church, where 250 people gathered for a commemorative Mass for the eight-year-old accidentedly killed by a snowplow Dec. 1 in Quebec City.

The church was essentially filled with members of Quebec City’s growing French-speaking African community, who came to show their support for the Tchoutouo family.

In front of the sanctuary, some of Michelle Solaye’s favourite belongings were laid on a small table, including a teddy bear. All around, there were pictures of her smiling.

The Tchoutouo family came to Quebec City five years ago and later asked to be baptized. This is where they met Nadeau, who said he was amazed by Michelle Solaye’s love and warmth for everyone.

The evening began with a testimony from her family. Her older sister talked about the love she had for her, and her mother, Josiane, managed to pronounce a few words despite her grief. Her father, Hypolyte, spoke at length and with passion about her.

“She was extraordinary. Even I, her dad, am not able to understand,” he said. “Michelle Solaye was very, very, very positive.”

He described an altruistic child who enjoyed most things in life, with a strong preoccupation for the well-being of others.

“Before going to bed every night, she prayed for her dad to finish school. For her mom to succeed in what she has to do. For her sister to succeed at school. She always thought of others,” said Hypolyte Tchoutouo.

He said his family is deeply grateful for the support they have received since her death, including from Cardinal Gerald Lacroix, who met them earlier that day.
Nadeau then presented Michelle Solaye’s baptismal candle. He invited her little sister, Laken, 4, to light it at the Paschal candle with help from their father.

“The Paschal candle represents the risen Christ. He is alive with us tonight,” said Nadeau. During the homily, the deacon reminded the assembly how the girl “had the goodness of God in her.”

“She was trying to make this world a better world. This is what Michelle Solaye invites us to tonight, to make this world a better world, where we welcome the others with their differences, without judging, without condemning,” he added.

“Michelle Solaye lived her life as a child by giving love and welcoming Jesus as a friend, constantly present, in all simplicity, confident of His love. I am sure that this is a strong invitation to live our life of faith as Christ invites us, in the manner of a child.”

After the Mass, the priests and Nadeau took Michelle Solaye’s lit baptismal candle and discreetly gave it to her parents, who put out the flame.

The family leaves for Cameroon in mid-December to have the child’s funeral according to the Cameroonian tradition and bury her next to her grandfather.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location
Type the text presented in the image below

Support The Catholic Register

Unlike many other news websites, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our site. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.