Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 28, 2008
Providence Sister shared her talents and her love
Sr. Yvonne Prévost in 1928
Special to the WCR
Dancing. Fishing. Telling ghost stories. These are but a few talents Sister Yvonne Pr‚vost learned and shared with those around her during her years as a Sister of Providence.
Prevost died Jan. 6 at 100 years of age.
Born in Peace River into a musically talented family, young Yvonne won prizes for her skating, acrobatics, dance and nurtured ambitions to be an actress and famous dancer.
But when she was ready to enter Grade 8, Bishop Emil‚ Grouard convinced her parents to send her to board at St. Bernard Mission to discern if she had a religious vocation.
The move took when she saw how much fun the sisters had together and when two of her companions left for Montreal, she followed.
Yvonne made first vows in November 1928, becoming Sister Edward of the Sacred Heart, symbolizing her love of her father and her lifelong devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Assigned to the St. Augustine Mission at Peace River, Sister Edward cared for the boarders, learning everything from how to milk cows to cut and sew clothing.
She shared her talents for art, music, skating and dance wherever she taught. And at Crowfoot School in Cluny, her 63-piece marching band - she even made the costumes - won prizes in the Calgary Stampede Parade.
Sister Edward loved children. And they loved her back. Once in Dawson Creek, a troubled boy who had run away returned a few days later.
"I came back because I know you like me," he told her.
The sister brought her own sense of fun, creativity and wonderment that in turn nurtured the children's playfulness. She would take the boarders for picnics, fishing, teach them crafts, tell them ghost stories - showing them how to have fun and chase away their loneliness.
The youngsters remembered her love and for years she received letters addressed to Sister Edward of the Scared Heart or the Scarred Heart.
Sister Edward ministered to mostly poor missions, so many of her talents were targeted at fundraising. At the Lacombe Home in Midnapore she taught square dancing to a children's group she dubbed the Do-si-ettes and they brought in considerable monies for the home.
Fundraising for schools
Her concerts at Notre Dame School in Dawson Creek B.C., raised money for the boarding school. Her paintings and crafts items were in high demand.
Sister Edward's classroom teaching ended after a bad fall. So in 1965, she was sent to Seattle to learn arts and crafts. She returned to Canada and instructed retired and semi-retired sisters in weaving, knitting, tatting, rug-making and other crafts.
It provided recreational therapy for the sisters, as well as income from the store Sister Edward ran at Providence Centre.
She spent her last years in the infirmary, with glimpses of her former self shining through in the occasional sparkling glance.