Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 2, 2003
Listen to the Christ within
Teaching Sisters of the Assumption adapt to meet the people's needs
By RENATO GANDIA
"Let's make some from homespun fabric."
- Fr. Calixte Marquis
As a French-speaking community, they were also invited to respond to the needs of francophone communities in St. Paul and Edmonton, as well as those of the rural communities.
They now also have sisters in Brazil, Caledonia, Ecuador, Japan and the United States.
Although a teaching community of sisters, they have performed other forms of ministries since the Second Vatican Council. Some became involved in pastoral work in the parish, catechesis in non-school settings, social work, hospital chaplaincy and even positions at diocesan levels.
"These ministries were not originally part of our ministries when we were founded," Martin said. Now, anything that is offered to us we do.
"Wherever there is a need we go."
Sister Carmel Joly, who recently celebrated her 60th anniversary with the order, said "We're getting fewer and fewer in number."
She doesn't expect young people will enter the community and live the same life.
"But I hope that some young people would wish to come and live this kind of life . maybe start their own community, maybe based on ours, but responding to a different need in a different way and style."
A sister who taught for 40 years, Joly commented, "I think what we have to do now is to be present with the people. Listen to people.
"There's not enough ears nowadays.
"When you listen, people find the answer to what they need. You discover they still have hope, they still have goals they can attain."
There are now 23 Assumption sisters in Western Canada. Twenty sisters, most of them retired, live in their Edmonton house.
But even if they have retired from teaching ministries they continue to serve the people in other ways.
Even sisters who are older still manage to do some forms of ministry by providing listening ears to people.
Martin, who taught for 20 years and administered Immaculate Conception Parish for 13 years, said, "When I look at the age of our congregation, I can still see a lot of hope and courage that we can share with people.
"The level of hope in the society is so diminished and there's a big struggle."
She now works with African immigrants, taking elderly people to their doctors' appointment, grocery shopping, banking and other errands.
She believes the reason for their continued presence in the Church is to give voice to those who don't have a voice in the community and to lend a hand to anyone in need.
With historical notes from Sister Yvette Hebert.
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