Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 3, 2008
Sr. Bev committed to justice
Ursuline sister helped found GEA
Sr. Bev Spohn
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
A woman committed to issues of justice, Ursuline Sister Beverly Spohn was one of the engines behind the Greater Edmonton Alliance, a vast network of churches, business and labour unions working to make the greater Edmonton more just, equitable and sustainable for all.
She was right beside Archbishop Thomas Collins when the network was launched in 2005.
“She was a supporter of GEA the whole time it has been in existence,” said Sister Hazel Dalton, regional superior of the Ursulines of Jesus.
“She was very committed to issues of justice, trying to look at the bigger picture when it comes to justice — not just doing something for somebody, although she did that as well.
”She would try to look at this system and the things that are inherently wrong with it and that’s why she supported the Greater Edmonton Alliance.”
Spohn, a member of the Ursulines of Jesus for 42 years, died peacefully in her sleep at home Oct. 17. She was 61.
St. Alphonsus Parish
Spohn had served as pastoral assistant at St. Alphonsus Parish in north Edmonton for the last seven years. Before that she had been regional superior of her order, pastoral assistant at Dawson Creek, B.C., and a schoolteacher in Edmonton.
“I think there are two lovely sides to Beverly,” Dalton said. “One was her absolute devotion to Scripture and to our congregation; the other side was playful and teasing, always looking for something fun to do.”
Spohn also loved the outdoors as well as biking, cross-country skiing and going to concerts. “She would bike for her own health and for fun.”
At St. Alphonsus Parish, Spohn was in charge of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and sacramental preparation.
But she would take on much more than, recalled Father Patrick Baska, who served as pastor at St. Alphonsus until last year.
“She was a very conscientious worker and yet you could also enjoy working with her, enjoy her company and wonderful personality with people,” Baska, the archdiocesan vocations director, said Oct. 29.
“Her love for the Church, her love for Jesus and her passion for people came across (in everything she did). Her one gift, I think, was an openness and willingness to tackle any need and to invite others to help.”
Baska and Spohn worked as a team at St. Alphonsus.
“She certainly was very capable of doing the work herself but she was always very inviting to me as a priest to participate, be part of that any way possible. And she kind of expected that,” Baska recalled. “In return I would often invite her to be part of my ministry as well.”
Baska and Spohn often went together to visit the sick at the hospital, the elderly at the nursing homes or to say Mass at a school.
As well as serving at the parish, Spohn was a real friend.
“She truly made herself a friend to many, including myself,” Baska said. “She always encouraged me and supported me in my ministry. She was somewhat I would say like a mentor in that regard.”
Growing up in the small community of Spring Lake, near Daysland, Spohn grew aware of the grandeur of God through nature.
“She spoke of being in awe at the starry skies at night and how that moved her deeply,” recalled Dalton.
Spohn joined the Ursulines of Jesus in 1966 at the age 19. A Mass of Christian Burial was held at St. Alphonsus Oct. 23. Baska presided at the funeral.