Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
June 18, 2001
Providence Sisters celebrate jubilees
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
EDMONTON — Whether providing food for inner city residents or administering a large health care facility, compassion for those in need is the prevailing quality of the 12 members of the Sisters of Providence who celebrated a milestone in their religious life.
On June 9, Sisters of Providence, family and friends gathered for a Eucharistic celebration to acknowledge the significant contributions of those sisters celebrating a jubilee year.
In her opening greeting, Sister Carla Montante, provincial leader of the Sisters of Providence of Western Canada, recognized the jubilarians for their commitment and dedication.
"Our Provident God takes delight in the gift of today. Providence extended an invitation to the consecrated life a few years back for each of our jubilarians," Montante said. "Today we rejoice and give thanks for these lives that truly have made a difference."
Together, the 12 jubilarians have a combined 725 years of religious services. Celebrating 75 years since taking first vows were Sister Alice Gauthier and Sister Denise-Hélène.
Celebrating 70 years were Sisters Juliette St. Laurent, Rose de Lima Thibault and Mary Zuscar.
Sisters Theresa Devine, Mary Michael, Madeleine Joyal and Nora St. Denis celebrated 60 years as Sisters of Providence.
Celebrating 50 years were Sister Rosa Roshau and Sister Lucille Belval.
Celebrating her 25-year anniversary was Sister Anne Hemstock.
Archbishop Thomas Collins presided at the liturgy and thanked the Sisters for their work of service. "We rejoice in the ways in which the Almighty God has blessed the sisters and we celebrate today their years of service.
"The ways in which they have embraced God has blessed all those who have been graced by the faithful devoted service they have given in the ministry of the Lord Jesus, " he said.
For the jubilarians, the special ceremony was an occasion to renew their vows, in the presence of their congregation and guests.
"Jubilee is, for me, a time to review my religious life and to see how Providence provided for me. It is a time for joy and thanksgiving for God's great love for me," said Sister Rosa Roshau.
The oldest member of the Sisters of Providence in Western Canada celebrated her 75th anniversary.
Sister Alice Gauthier said she was excited and thankful, "I never thought I would see 75 years as a sister. This is a very busy time and I am very lucky for the gifts I have been given," said the 95-year-old.
Gauthier served the Cree people in northern Alberta from the late 1920s to the late '40s. After that, she worked in administration for the sisters until retiring in 1979. She continues her ministry of prayer and spends time with sisters in the infirmary.
Sister Denise Hélène, the other sister celebrating her 75th anniversary, taught for 56 years, teaching kindergarten to Grade 12 in Alberta and the Yukon. She has taught in French and German communities as well as to the Cree, Slavey, Beaver and Blackfoot people.
Other sisters also spoke of their gratitude. "Seventy years is a long time when you think about it," said Sister Mary Zuscar as she reflected on her anniversary. "Everything happens for a reason. God has always watched over me and guided me on my journey."
Zuscar worked at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver for many years before moving to Edmonton in 1971 and beginning work in the inner city. She was a founding member of Operation Friendship and told of her experiences in her book, Ten Years on Boyle Street.
Sisters of Providence proclaim God's Providence in all aspects of their lives. Each of the jubilarians has demonstrated this in the work they have done and, in many cases, continue to do.
Today, some of the sisters are ministering in the inner city, fulfilling administrative roles at Providence Centre and helping wherever needed. Even those in the infirmary, through prayer, continue the ministry of God's work.
The Sisters of Providence is an international community of women religious, serving in Canada, the United States, El Salvador, Haiti, Chile, Argentina, the Philippines, Egypt and Cameroon. Sisters of Providence, Holy Angels Province, serve in Alberta and British Columbia, as well as in Montreal and the Philippines.
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