Marie Dilette Delsaut was born April 16, 1921 and passed away peacefully March 25, 2018. On March 25, 2018, Marie passed away peacefully less than a month short of her 97th birthday. She died in her sleep cared for lovingly by the staff of Forest Heights Long Term Care Centre, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. She is now in the presence of Her Lord: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord … they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow.’ Rev 14:13
Marie is predeceased by her husband, Francis in 1967. She is survived by her three children Allan (Lisa), Phil (Michelle), and Elizabeth (James Carver).
She is the beloved Grandmother of James (Megan) and Michael (Louise); Aaron (Tiffany), Amanda (Shawn), Jonathan (Nicole), David and Andrew (Karen); and Jeremy. She dearly loved her great grandchildren: Jack; Frank and Katarina; Aisha, Aianna, Dominic and Donovan; Danika; William and Hannah Marie Grace (last born just before Marie’s passing).
Born, Maria Dilette Battaglia, to her mother Anna Sofia Astori and her father, Luigi Ferdinando Battaglia, she is predeceased by her older siblings, Bruna and Paul. In the 1920s her family fled Mussolini’s fascist Italy because her father, a cavalry officer, had expressed his opinion of ‘Il Duce’ in a public place. They settled in the small town of Carmaux in southern France where they operated a restaurant and inn. Then in 1939 Hitler began his murderous march across Europe and the family was once more ensnared in the madness of a dictator. As a young adult, Marie came to a personal faith in Jesus and found community in the little Evangelical Free Church of Carmaux. There she met a young man living under a false identity, a refugee from northern France having fled to avoid the scoop of young men who would be worked to death in Nazi forced labour camps. Francis and Marie married in 1944 and lived those frightful days across from the local school used as the Gestapo HQ. With the pastor and others they were part of an underground railway that helped Jews out of Nazi dominated France. She was not an official member of the Resistance but played a small role by smuggling weapons in the basket of her bicycle. Her husband used his technical skills to repair weapons.
In 1954, Marie and Francis left France and the employment of the coal mines and pall of black lung disease for the promise of a brighter future and work in the booming nickel mines of Sudbury, Ontario. Francis made a career in his chosen profession as a dental technician and never did work in the nickel mines. Arriving with two young boys, and, a new baby girl born two weeks after the ship’s crossing of the rough Atlantic, they worked hard to make a better life, experiencing the challenges and hardships of so many immigrants. They bought a little foursquare house in a poor neighbourhood of Sudbury and made it a home, improving and expanding it over the years -- with such innovations as forced air heating and hot water! It was a hard go.
Marie was a romantic. She loved to sing and had a flair for the arts. She would go around the house singing in French, Italian, English and Spanish and performed in amateur events. Figure skating and dance were passions that she drew the family into for several years. Despite an incomplete education, she became a popular French teacher in various schools and continued to teach at various times and settings for much of her working life. Marie, who had not had the opportunity to complete a university degree earned a BA from York University in her sixties. In later life she also took up painting and became quite adept in various mediums. One of her particular satisfactions was sending a painting to Her Majesty the Queen and receiving a letter of thanks indicating that, against protocol, this painting had been accepted. She also took particular delight in her resemblance to the Queen Mother in her later years and corresponded with the Buckingham Palace on the subject complete with photos!
Marie lived 51 years a widow but would often express her thanks to the Lord for His care for her and her family. In those years she saw her children establish themselves and rejoiced to see the rise of the next generations. She left Sudbury to take up short term missionary service in Niamey, Niger. Subsequently she came back to Canada and made her living as a French teacher, living in Kitchener, Waterloo, Bowmanville and Oshawa, and then later in Toronto, Hamilton, and then St. Jacobs, and finally Forest Heights in Kitchener. She enjoyed travel to Florida, the Caribbean and India.
She spent several years in missionary service with SIM in French West Africa, helping pastors to become more proficient in the French language. During this time she was witness to one of the great famines and did what she could to help the nomadic Fulani and Touaregs who came into Niamey, Niger looking for food aid. For her caring and help, they gave her the name, Adama. In her latter years, when she was limited to her room, she travelled the world vicariously, following her son in his work in many countries, praying for him and taking great interest in the impact of this ministry in far flung places such as India, Africa, and South America. She prayed often for her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and about many other things. She is now able to have her conversations with her Saviour, face to face!
Growing up she was known as ‘Enfant Soleil’, Sun Child. That radiance was evident until the closing days of her life. She took great joy in the accomplishments of her children and grandchildren. And during visits they would bask in the sunshine of her praise and love. At family gatherings her whimsical charm would percolate to the surface even when her capacities were diminishing. The staff at Forest Heights expressed the joy they had in working with Marie. She kept her wit and sense of humour into the very last days. At the end it was time to see her leave for a better place. She was ready.
Some day the silver cord will break,
And I no more as now shall sing;
But, O the joy when I shall wake
Within the presence of the King!
And I shall see Him face to face,
And tell the story, saved by grace:
And I shall see Him face to face,
And tell the story, saved by grace.
About a year ago, Feb 4, 2017, Phil was in India when he received a call about 3pm local time (3am Eastern Time) from the nursing home: My mom was dying and did not want to go to hospital. I phoned her and she made it plain. I said my tearful goodbyes. Then I called my oldest son to go see her. He made a speedy trip to the home and after conversation convinced her to go to hospital. An hour or so later I received a call from my wife, who put the doctor on. His diagnosis: Mom is dying. I said my goodbyes all over again. Other family members were phoned and everyone said their goodbyes. This was just before the evening meeting in Allahabad, India. (Sandra Tjart spoke that evening to the congregation numbering the thousands – great job.) After the meeting, I spoke to Bishop R. B. Lal that I was mourning the passing of my mother back home. His words, ‘I was not able to be present at my mother’s passing. Let’s pray that the Lord will grant you the privilege of seeing her one more time.’ We prayed. A few minutes later I called my wife who was by my mom’s hospital bed. She said, Oh, she is so much better, laughing and talking! What an answer to prayer! The Lord granted me more than a year, and the goodbye was so much better. I was able to be with her every day since early in the New Year.
She went into palliative care on March 13th where she stayed until her passing on March 25th. The family thanks the Lord for the several days of lucidity in which Marie was able to experience the joy of seeing and interacting with most her family one last time. These special visits culminated on March 17th when she was introduced to the newest arrival and namesake, Hannah Marie Grace. And then she slipped into a deep sleep. We want to thank all the staff who took such good care, and showed love and respect, of Marie, in particular in these last days. Your loving service is much appreciated.
Her earthly remains have been charged to the capable care of the Futher-Franklin Funeral Home, Wellesley, to be returned to ashes with dignity, and then subsequently, her ashes will be interred with the remains of her husband in Sudbury, Ontario.
Arrangements are under way for a gathering that will remember and celebrate her past life and celebrate her life in the presence of Her Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Particulars are yet to be announced. A committal service for family will follow in due time.