Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
July 5, 2010
Sisters of Charity of St. Louis leave Edmonton after 48 years
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
ST. ALBERT - Due to aging and decreasing numbers, the Sisters of Charity of St. Louis are leaving the Edmonton Archdiocese after 48 years of service.
This summer, the last two members of the congregation who remain in the archdiocese - Sister Pat Derbyshire, the order's newly appointed leader, and Sister Mary Spence - will leave for Calgary, where the order has its headquarters.
"We do not foresee that other sisters will be coming to the (Edmonton) Archdiocese in the future," Derbyshire and Spence say in a prepared statement.
"On behalf of all the Sisters (of Charity of St. Louis) who have served in this archdiocese, we express our gratitude for the welcome and encouragement in ministry that we have received and for the many people who have touched our lives."
Currently there are 25 Sisters of Charity in Western Canada, including 16 in Calgary, and their average age is 75. Four are in their 90s and several in their 80s. The youngest is in her 60s. The last time the congregation had a vocation was in the late 1980s.
The sisters arrived in the archdiocese in 1962 and since then, 37 have lived and ministered through community service, education, parish ministry, pastoral care, pastoral counselling, the archdiocesan catechetical team, nursing, Catholic Social Services, religious formation, spiritual direction and outreach to the poor.
Sisters of Charity of St. Louis taught at several schools in Edmonton and St. Albert. The sisters were also involved in parish ministry at St. Michael-Resurrection, St. Clare, St. Andrew, St. Angela Merici, St. Patrick, St. Anthony, St. Francis, St. Paul, and St. Albert and Holy Family parishes.
From 1970 to 1995 several Sisters of Charity were a vital presence at Newman Theological College, where they rented one wing of the college for their novitiate community while two sisters - Ria Gerritsen and Aldona Ewazko - served on the college's faculty. A number of sisters obtained their undergraduate degrees at Newman or studied for personal enrichment.
Spence, a retired teacher and member of the Sisters of Charity for almost seven decades, has lived and served in St. Albert for 23 years.
She has done parish ministry and spiritual reflection in the city's two parishes, and was responsible for the novitiate formation program. Following her retirement, she continued doing spiritual reflection and serving as a chaplain for Faith and Light.
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