Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 12, 2005
Asian sister celebrates her calling
Sr. Catherine Chan professes her vows
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Sister Catherine Chan could not believe the length of the receiving line.
About 200 people from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish (Chinese) in Calgary packed into cars and buses before heading to the Providence Centre in Edmonton Aug. 20 to hear Chan profess first vows as a Sister of Providence.
Calgary Diocese Bishop Fred Henry celebrated the event.
"Afterwards, I kept shaking everyone's hand. I was wondering where was the end of the line," Chan said in an interview. "They were all sincere."
Chan, 44, came to Canada from Hong Kong with her parents in 1992. The youngest of three girls, she worked as an office administrator for 10 years before she joined the Sisters of Providence.
She met the order in Calgary and volunteered at Providence Child Care Centre. She taught Sunday school at OLPH and began to discern what God might want from her. She had already formed a friendship with Sister Magdalena Chan at the parish.
Chan was introduced to the vocation director, Sister Toyleen Fook, who was giving workshops and offering Days of Exploration in Calgary.
"Entering religious life is one thing. But as an Asian in Canadian culture, it is a big step," said Chan.
Chan was brought up to cherish her Catholic faith. The family went to church every Sunday. After arriving in Calgary, her parents began teaching the RCIA program at OLPH.
"This is very special for my parents. My father said his work in the Church is meaningful and has significance. He thought that how he sowed the seed, it might grow some day. And here I am."
In the last three years she has been challenged, but has grown enormously.
"Many people have the idea that you lose something when you choose religious life, but I really feel that I have gained more than I might have lost. The spiritual and personal growth I've experienced is life giving."
Chan became a candidate of the order three years ago. One year later, she entered the novitiate to continue her discernment and studies.
"When I made my decision to enter the order, I did not want to put too high an expectation. It is my journey with unknowns and challenges," she said.
"Religious life for me is about my relationship with God. God is shaping me, taking all the rough edges and smoothing them out. The best part is that only God knows what shape I will take."
Chan works as a personal care attendant at Father Lacombe Care Centre. At the centre, she not only shares her always friendly personality and smile with others, but she has also been able to experience the history and legacy of the order in the development of Father Lacombe Care Centre.
"Taking care of people is rewarding. It fulfills the work of God," she said.
"I hope I can use my skills and work with people. Working at any job is about your attitude. People need joy and dignity. I hope to give love and compassion. I trust in providence that God will provide everything I need."