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The profession of thanatologist: 1 passion - 5 stories

By Aurélie Vasseur, Content Writer

Why do some people become thanatologists? This is undoubtedly the most frequently asked question to our embalming colleagues. In a society where death is still taboo, schools don't naturally encourage young people to choose a funeral profession, and yet ...

A diverse profession

Being a thanatologist isn't just about embalming. The courses, offered at Collège Rosemont, are highly varied. Indeed, thanatology students will learn not only the technical side of embalming, but also the the administrative side of running a funeral home, as well as the psychological aspects of bereavement.

A typical day

In reality, there is no such thing as a typical day in thanatology. Nothing is redundant because each person or situation is unique. However, we have listed the key elements of a day at the Urgel Bourgie / Athos laboratory:

  • Checking the exposure list - establishing hair and make-up requirements, etc.
  • Checking the deceased who have arrived during the night - checking the condition of each one to establish an order of priority
  • Casket selection and installation of the deceased ready for viewing
  • Setting up for next deceased
  • Preparing cremations - dressing and asepsis

One passion, 5 stories

Meeting our thanatologists was very interesting. They all share a common passion, but each has a unique unique story.

The team is led by Pierre-Maxime Fugère, an expert in the field whose story has been told many times before. Find out more here.

His team is made up of 5 extraordinary women. here they are:

Alexia - Graduated in 2021

Passionate about science and art, Alexia finds these two elements in her day to day as a thanatologist. She is particularly interested by the workings of the human body, which she finds impressive, and the make-up and clothing. In fact, she had taken an aesthetics course before entering the funeral business.

Alexia defines her profession as both unusual and necessary. She loves being able to give back to the community by offering to the deceased family a beautiful farewell image of their loved one.

Maude - Graduated in 2019

Thanatology? why not? Maude told herself when time came to choose a course at the CÉGEP. It was the accessibility of the program at Rosemont College that permitted her to make this discovery which she now seems delighted with.

Her favorite subject is chemistry. Maude is fascinated by the possibility of restoring life and color after death, the oposition between the absence of life and the body's ability to regain form with the work she does.

This profession has made her aware of the fragility of life and the importance of learning from each situation, enjoying and make the most of life. 

Judith - Graduated in 2019

An artist at heart, Judith loves the creativity and sense of purpose that thanatology brings. It's important for her to participate in something bigger than herself by helping to bring peace to families.

"Every body is an adventure," says Judith. Her goal: to achieve a familiarity of features and a serene look on the face of the deceased. In her opinion, death shouldn't be hidden, instead it should be soothing and reassuring. After all, it is part of life.

Geneviève - Graduated in 2021

With a BAC in visual arts, Geneviève exhibited her creations while missing sciences. Consequently, she started looking for a profession that would combine her artistic flair with her interest in science.

Geneviève also has a particular liking for psychology, giving special attention to detail in order to take care of the family's emotions and help them through the grieving process.

On an artistic level, she finds her niche in make-up, but above all with the aim of making the person look familiar and at peace.

Katy - Graduated in 2006

Initially interested in medicine, Katy was intrigued by thanatology. She went to a funeral home and found a vocation that could also nouurish her curiosity about biology.

With 17 years' experience at Urgel Bourgie / Athos, Katy has acquired a wealth of knowledge, particularly with difficult cases such as accidents. She particularly enjoys sharing her own knowledge and observing the new techniques trainees bring to her. There are many ways to achieve a result, and everyone needs to find their own way.

Thanatology is not the first profession you think of when you are thinking about your future career, but for those who have chosen it, it's unanimously a fulfilling and meaningful profession.