Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
March 9, 2009
Sister was a dedicated peacemaker
Sr. Peters came to Rocky after career of teaching university
Sr. Catherine Peters
BY RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
ROCKY MOUNTAIN HOUSE — A devoted follower of Jesus, Notre Dame Sister Catherine “Cappy” Peters was a woman of peace who taught schoolchildren how to resolve conflict in a peaceful manner.
Peters’ talents and unstinting generosity touched the lives of many people in both Eastern and Western Canada. As professor of home economics at St. Francis Xavier University for 30 years, she taught young adults the skills that they needed to contribute to society.
When she came to Rocky Mountain House in the early 1990s, she continued her passion for teaching through discussion groups, Bible study groups and peace education with staff and students at both Catholic and public schools.
Peters, who also served as pastoral assistant at St. Matthew’s Parish for many years, died Feb. 25 at Rocky Mountain Hospital after a long battle with cancer. She was 77.
“I’ll remember her as a very happy, faithful and industrious person, always concerned about promoting the kingdom of God,” said her best friend and colleague Sister Margie MacDonell, who shared a duplex with Peters in Rocky.
“She promoted peace and equality and respect for all people and had a real devotion to the presence of God in all things.”
Both Peters and MacDonell, the only two Notre Dame Sisters in Rocky, taught peace education to staff and students at Ecole Rocky Elementary and at St. Marguerite Bourgeoys School in Innisfail for almost 20 years.
“She was a real educator,” MacDonell said. “She believed in peace and therefore was always happy to teach others skills to resolve conflicts in a non-violent way.”
Besides peace and education, Peters led a women’s group, taught adult education for the town of Rocky and did religious instruction at St. Matthew’s Parish.
“She belonged to a reading club and was very active in promoting good literature and guiding people to read only the best,” MacDonell recalled.
“Cappy’s gift of hospitality and welcome touched the lives of all CNDs (Notre Dames Sisters) in Alberta so that ‘Rocky’ became the centre of celebration for special occasions,” reads an obituary prepared by the congregation.
“Many people in the town also benefitted from Cappy’s warm hospitality. She leaves behind a legacy of caring, compassion and justice for the equality of all.”
Born in Prince Edward Island in 1932, Peters moved to Rocky Mountain House in 1991 following her retirement from St. Francis Xavier University. She was a member of the Congregation of Notre Dame for more than 50 years.
Pat McDonald, a close friend of Peters and former principal of St. Matthew’s School, saw Peters a few days before her death and said the sister was hopeful she would get better.
“I don’t think she really was thinking anything was going to happen,” he said.
“But that was her nature; she was always very upbeat, very encouraging and very positive. I’m going to miss her because of the fact that she was such a delight to know. She was always very, very positive about everything she did.”
At a prayer vigil at St. Matthew’s Church Feb. 27, McDonald described Peters as a woman of an immense faith.
“Sister Peters understood fully the Gospel of love. I first remember seeing Cappy many years ago bringing food to those less fortunate — hurting souls living on the edge of society, in a place called the Cosy Roomettes,” he recalled.
“Each week Cappy would visit the poor there bringing hope and sustenance. She never had a problem seeing Christ in the breadlines or indeed buying winter shoes for suffering children going without. She will be missed by many.”
Peters’ remains were flown to Charlottetown in early March for funeral services and burial.