Battling the arctic cold and snow that brought much of the city to a standstill, mourners filled Holy Innocents Church, Flatbush, to capacity Jan. 4 for the funeral of three young women tragically killed in a home fire.
Retired Auxiliary Bishop Guy Sansaricq celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial for the sisters who died shortly before Christmas.
“We have pain because we are human beings,” he said during his homily. “We would be heartless if we did not have pain.”
However, Bishop Sansaricq reminded the congregation that as tragic as these deaths may be, Jaima Alexandra Jumelle, Jasmine Michelle Guillaume and Kareen Antohnine Jumelle are now entrusted to God.
Agnes Viel, the sisters’ cousin, said the family has turned to their main source of strength during this difficult time.
“God will guide us,” she said.
Prudencia Guillaume, the sisters’ aunt, said the family has also drawn strength from community support. The sisters were all influential in the communities they belonged to, she said. They attended Mass every Sunday and gave of themselves in their daily lives.
Shannon Ryan said she came to the funeral to honor Jasmine, her schoolmate at St. Saviour H.S., Park Slope. “It’s the right thing to do,” said Ryan, a senior. “She (Jasmine) would have done the same thing if it was anyone else in the school.”
Although Ryan, did not know Jasmine, a junior, very well, she said she felt a deep loss because Jasmine had a great impact on their school.
“She brought joy wherever she went … into the halls, into the classroom, into her friendships,” said Sister Valeria Belanger, S.S.N.D., principal at St. Saviour H.S., who also was present at the funeral. “She gave her heart and soul to St. Saviour, to the activities and to her friends.”
The deadly fire engulfed the sisters’ home Dec. 20, 2013, the last day of school at St. Saviour before Christmas break. The school held a Kris Kringle party and a Mass for the seniors. They received the news just as everyone was going home.
The school remained open, and many students came back to pray and to seek support in the face of the news. The school remained open for an extra day, Saturday, to offer the students a safe place to be.
According to a tribute written by Maureen Guillaume, Jasmine was born on October 15, 1997 at St. Mary’s Hospital to parents Jean Marie Joseph and Evena Guillaume. She died at age 16 on Dec. 20, 2013. Before St. Saviour, she attended ALEC Daycare, Our Lady Help of Christians School, St. Athanasius School and P.S. 138. Following in her sisters’ example of determination, she aspired to be a lawyer.
Kareen died on Dec. 22, 2013, at the age of 24, a month before she was to start medical school.
According to an obituary by Tatiana Dorsainville, she was born on May 1, 1989, at Brookdale Hospital, to parents Guy Jumelle and Evena Guillaume. She attended St. Vincent Ferrer School and Our Lady Help of Christians School. She received a full scholarship to Bishop Kearney H.S., Bensonhurst. She went on to Rutgers University, where she graduated with a bachelor’s in biology and minor in sociology. Determined to become a medical doctor, she volunteered at Methodist Hospital, Park Slope, and with Lawrence Silverberg, D.P.M., while working part-time at Adidas.
Kareen “would always embrace people with a smile,” Dorsainville wrote. “She is a strong-willed, independent woman, who knew what she wanted.”
Jaima died on Dec. 23, 2013, just months before she would have received her title of nurse practitioner from St. Paul University.
“Jaima had a special quality in which she would always embrace you with a warm smile and always gave people the outmost respect,” wrote Tracy Thermidor in a tribute. “Jaima is extremely gentle, hilarious and she loved to dance and read. She admired children.”
Jaima was the eldest of three. According to Thermidor’s tribute, Jaima was born on Oct. 1, 1986 at St. Mary’s Hospital to parents Guy Jumelle and Evena Guillaume. She attended Our Lady Help of Christians and Bishop Kearney H.S. She started college in St. John’s University and after two years transferred to Stony Brook University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology. She also worked part-time at Adidas.
Interment for the sisters was at Cypress Hills Cemetery.