Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 24, 2007
Dene remember priest's healing touch
- Photo supplied
Fr. Murray Chatlain welcomes visitor Charlie Throassie in Black Lake
By LASHA MORNINGSTAR
WCR News Editor
Black Lake, Sask.
Elizabeth Alphonse knew what her heart wanted as she tucked the message into place at Medjugorje.
"We wrote a letter asking that Father Murray would be with us forever. And they say if you make a request at Medjugorje it comes true.
"And that letter was answered. It came true."
Alphonse is just one of a multitude of parishioners at Black Lake, Sask., whose heart ached when their much-loved priest who, after four years in the northern Saskatchewan community, was transferred back to Saskatoon.
Alphonse remembers when Father Murray Chatlain first arrived in the Dene community.
"Everyone liked him right away. He was so kind and talked to everyone."
But the people were astounded and profoundly moved when their new priest "went hunting with the Dene people and fishing with the Dene people," says Alphonse.
The spiritually-hungry people of Our Lady of the Cape Parish embraced the sacraments.
And Confession became even more meaningful when their priest sat with them and tried to learn their language.
Alphonse bursts out with laughter as she tells of Chatlain's trying to call her a "Dene woman" and mistakenly called her an "old woman."
Jean Sha'oulle echoes Alphonses' recollections of the compassionate priest. "He gives a person courage and talks to people so you can open your mind."
And she tells of her 25-year struggle with addiction.
"One day I went to see Father and started to talk about spiritual healing. He supported me, talking with me, and I opened up really good to him."
Sha'oulle is addiction free for four years now and an active member of the parish's lay ministry. Her's was one of the signatures on the Medjugorje letter entreating Chatlain to stay forever.
"We really miss him."
But her voice lifts as she says, "But we did get our wish. He's our bishop now and he can send a priest to us."