Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
September 7, 2009
Sr. Annata follows where God leads her
This year's winner of the Kevin Carr Award brought many to the Church through the RCIA program
Sr. Annata Brockman
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON - "Follow where God leads."
Sister Annata Brockman's simple statement is one that she has abided by for eight decades.
"I have always known all of my life that anything I do is the result of what God wants to do through me. Nothing I do is important, except what God does through me. My work is to carry on the work of Jesus, and I believe that is the work of all Christians and all people of the world."
Brockman is this year's recipient of Newman Theological College's Kevin Carr Christian Leadership Award.
The award is to recognize and honour an individual who shows outstanding leadership, reflects the values of Newman College, and exhibits the qualities that Carr cherished as the college's seventh president.
Previous recipients of the Kevin Carr Leadership Award are Jean Forest, Ernest Chauvet, Tim Spelliscy, Douglas Roche and Don Zinyk.
A Sister of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Brockman has excelled as an educator and parish pastoral minister.
She's had both a school and a bursary named after her. She was Newman Theological College's first recipient of the prestigious Chancellor's Award. Now she can add yet another honour to the lengthy list.
Dr. Mona-Lee Feehan nominated Brockman for the Kevin Carr Award. She said that, instead of lip service, Brockman lives her life by the values that others only talk about.
"I nominated her because I think there is no more deserving person than Sister Annata for this award and what it stands for. She has dedicated herself to Catholic education for decades and has been a big promoter of the Catholic faith and Catholic traditions her whole life," said Feehan.
"You can't help but get drawn in by her commitment for life that she has whenever you talk to her. That's the first thing that drew me to her - that smile that invites you in to live life, instead of just being somebody on the sidelines watching what's going on," said Feehan.
"If there is a definition of a living saint out there, you could say that Sister Annata fits that definition."
Born in 1927 in Middle Lake, Sask., the eighth of 12 children, Brockman valued education. She holds four degrees and has a teaching career that began in Nova Scotia and British Columbia.
Moving to Edmonton in 1960, she served as a teacher and administrator for 21 years. Throughout her years as principal at St. Mark, St. Dominic and St. Andrew schools, Brockman was also active in St. Andrew's Parish.
Upon retiring, she took over as pastoral associate minister at St. Joseph's Basilica, and for 10 years coordinated the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program, bringing hundreds of people into the Catholic Church.
COORDINATED GRETZKY WEDDING
She rose to prominence in the secular press as the chief coordinator of the Wayne Gretzky/Janet Jones wedding in 1988.
Today, she continues serving the community by visiting the sick and terminally ill, and giving a listening ear and a bit of advice to those who seek it.
The greatest joy of her ministry is explaining the faith to people and seeing them leave with renewed hope, and a better outlook on life.
"Seeing the light in their eye is so rewarding," she said.
When people have Jesus working through them, she said, they are able to more fully recognize their role, and find out ways of bringing out the best in themselves and others.
Years ago, young people wanting to do the work of God were limited in their options, said Brockman. Men became priests and women became nuns. Today, more options to serve the Lord are available to those not wishing to take on a religious vocation.
MANY WAYS TO SERVE
"Today there is a multitude of ways that young people can volunteer a year or two of their lives in Third World countries or in any ministry, and they can perhaps come back and get married and have a family.
"I don't worry about the lack of religious because I believe that all people should work together for the good of the world and the good of creation, which is part of everybody's responsibility," she explained.
A lot of children who were baptized as Catholics now need a renewal of their faith, she said. Helping in that regard, she praised Nothing More Beautiful, the program initiated in the Edmonton Archdiocese by Archbishop Richard Smith.
"Since Vatican II, people born Catholic didn't always find their role immediately, and maybe the changes weren't explained well enough. But I do feel the need to develop within all of our people a closer relationship with Jesus, an intimate relationship. Nothing else could help them more."
A new Catholic school in Edmonton has been named after Brockman. Built in the Hamptons, a new neighbourhood in west Edmonton, the elementary/junior high school will open in September 2010.
Brockman will receive the award at a luncheon Oct. 1 at the Chateau Louis Hotel and Conference Centre.