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Saskatchewan sisters gather for centennial celebration……

4- in Canada - Date of publication 09-23-2005
Contributions to the province of Saskatchewan by some 5,500 sisters from 56 different congregations were remembered as they were honoured for an estimated 80,000 years of “sister service” on the 9th and 10th of September in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The 100th birthday of Saskatchewan’s existence as a province is a perfect occasion to remember the contributions of catholic sisters in the shaping of that province’s future. The Sister’s Association of Saskatchewan hosted a home-coming celebration inviting members of the many congregations serving or having served the people of Saskatchewan to remember with them, give thanks, tell the stories and listen to the stories of many of those whose lives were shaped by the sisters presence and service during over 100 years of history!

They gathered to tell the stories recalling the dedication and commitment of the pioneer sisters as they faced incredible challenges and difficulties in meeting the needs of so many struggling people in this beautiful land of living skies but also of vast distances and harsh climate. Approximately 300 sisters, including Henriette Beaudoin and Thérèse Verrier of the Sisters of Charity N-D d’Évron, returned to Saskatchewan to celebrate this milestone in the history of that province.  The theme for this marvellous celebration “shaping a gentle province” was aptly chosen!

On the evening of September 9th the sisters began their celebration by story-telling, sharing moments of prayer and song as well as a time for informal visiting while enjoying a lovely lunch. The public portion of the celebration took place on September the 10th as many dignitaries, family members and friends joined in the festivities adding their stories and expressing sincere gratitude, recognition and respect for the many ways religious women have since the very beginning helped in the shaping of the province of Saskatchewan in quite remarkable ways!

James Weisgerber, bishop of the Winnipeg archdiocese, said, “It is important to remember and acknowledge the work and generosity of so many women who served the province educating, caring for the sick and dying and pioneering new ministries.”  He added that the contribution of the sisters is more than a matter of function and the amount of work accomplished. “You were, first of all, women of heart, women of love,” he said, describing how the sisters first and foremost entered into relationships with the people. “That is why everyone loves you and remembers you. It’s because you touched the heart.”  Through their lives and hearts, sisters have in turn filled people in Saskatchewan with faith and love, he said.  “It’s a true ministry and it’s a ministry of faith.”  

Whether it was a personal vocation story, tales about schools, hospitals, housekeeping or parish work, the atmosphere at the September 9th and 10th Shaping a Gentle Province centennial gathering was one of joy and affirmation!

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