Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 16, 2005
Sr. Mac opened hearts, doors
Sr. Mechtildis Weber died at 91 after 73 years with the Ursuline Sisters
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
For 15 years, Ursuline of Prelate Sister Mechtildis Weber served the Edmonton Archdiocese as director of Catholic Renewal Services.
Sister Mac, as many knew her, had a dynamic yet humble personality that helped to build the charismatic renewal.
After a lengthy battle with cancer, Weber died April 19 at St. Joseph's Home in Saskatoon. She was 91.
While her later years were devoted to prayer and leadership in the charismatic renewal, Weber earlier made her mark as a high school teacher and principal.
She organized youth groups and singing groups, produced high school dramas and coached sports teams.
"She had an exceptional array of gifts," said Sister Gertrude Sopracolle who credits her former teacher for leading her to join the Ursuline Sisters of Prelate. "She had a remarkable ability for staying in touch with former students and God alone knows the effect she has had and continues to have on our lives."
Weber encouraged students from small-town Saskatchewan to go on to post-secondary education at a time when few saw that as an option, Sopracolle said. "In addition to regular classes, she built up the Glee Club to a calibre that enabled us to join musical festivals and accept invitations to perform at other centres."
Weber was born in Quinton, Sask., on July 5, 1913, the youngest of 10 children.
She attended grade school in Quinton and completed her high school at St. Angela's Academy at Prelate. In 1932, she entered the Ursulines and made her first profession in 1934.
After attending Teachers' College in Moose Jaw, Weber taught at Tramping Lake and Denzil while pursuing a bachelor of arts from the University of Ottawa.
She later obtained a bachelor of education from the University of Winnipeg, and a master's degree in educational and clinical psychology from the U of A.
Weber served as high school principal in Prelate, Goodsoil, Primate and Tramping Lake, Sask.
In 1967, she received a centennial medal "in recognition of valuable service to the nation."
She taught psychology at Alberta College in Edmonton for 13 years and did off-campus counselling with aboriginal people in the North and on the Enoch Reserve west of Edmonton.
Her final 15 years of ministry were at the Catholic Renewal Centre where she taught, counselled, led prayer groups and trained staff to minister to the charismatic community and the poor.
In 1998, she underwent surgery for cancer. In 2001, Weber was transferred to Saskatoon, spending her last years at St. Angela Merici Residence and St. Joseph's Home.
Sister Louisa Brost will remember her friend mostly for her prayerful spirit.
"She loved to sing. She had such a strong personality," Brost said.
Catholic Renewal Services hosted an evening in Weber's honour in June 1999 at St. Basil's Cultural Centre. Several prayer groups had a hand in completing a large quilt that was presented to Weber.
Germaine DeCruyenaere worked alongside Weber in the Catholic Renewal Services office in Edmonton. They organized numerous events, including healing Masses, conferences and seminars.
DeCruyenaere described Weber as "very strong willed, right to the end."
"When she was diagnosed with cancer, she fought it tooth and nail. She never gave up. She was active with the renewal centre from its beginning 20 years ago until shortly before she returned to her residence in Saskatoon."
Weber was dedicated to the renewal. She demanded and received respect. She was kind and influential. She was well educated and highly qualified, DeCruyenaere said.
"The renewal was very successful because of Sister Weber. It was a spiritual program and it was not just a fad. God initiated it. We were being guided and led to live in the Holy Spirit. That was really important to her, to us all."
Pat Korchinski began a relationship with Weber as a Grade 9 student at Goodsoil high school in 1966. The women eventually became prayer partners when Korchinski experienced a difficult pregnancy.
"Sister enjoyed sharing her stories of her life as God's servant," Korchinski said. "She was also very instrumental in allowing us to see God's plan for us."
Following three unsuccessful pregnancies, Korchinski prayed with Weber that she would give birth to a healthy child. Their prayers were answered.
"On one occasion I made her promise me that she would be my own guardian angel when she got to heaven and she committed to that. I shared with her what a difficult task this would be, but it never bothered her at all," Korchinski said.
"Until the last week, her humour was still there as was her desire to be with God. She was true to herself and to us by maintaining her faith and being the role model we needed to witness."
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