Last Updated: Thursday - 09/30/2010
September 13, 2010
Sr. Victoria keeps fire burning
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
At age 96, Sister Victoria Mazur remains a dynamic force in Edmonton's St. Andrew's Parish, her home for the past quarter century.
On Aug. 28, she celebrated her 96th birthday with friends during a lively meal at the Chateau Louis restaurant. The next day, she renewed her vows during Sunday Mass at St. Andrew's to mark her 75th anniversary as a Sister of Our Lady of the Cross (Notre Dame de la Croix).
A special hymn, Holy Mary, was played in her honour and she received a standing ovation from the parishioners.
Father Vic Perron, pastor of St. Andrew's since 2001, tells how Mazur keeps the parish in line.
She helps out at church services, informs him when the sound system is not working properly and often corrects parishioners who do things wrong, Perron notes.
"When we had Benediction, somebody would set up the monstrance. She indicated to me that the monstrance should not be placed facing the people, but should be placed sideways when it's not in use. When you're looking at it, you should not see the face of the monstrance, but at a side angle, which I agreed with," said the pastor.
"In terms of the faith, she knows how things should be done. Things like that, she's right on top of it. She's very bright and aware of what's going on."
Selfless and always drawing attention from herself, Mazur told the WCR that her anniversary Mass was extra special because a young woman announced that she was joining the Sisters of Life in New York. The woman's younger sister made her First Communion that same morning.
Mazur says she is blessed by God's providence. "God is so good to me. When I need something or want something, God gives it to me.
"Once I wanted a small table, and I was waiting for it. Someone was supposed to give me one because I gave him a piano. I waited for the table and it didn't come.
"One day I came downstairs and this man passed by with a table. I asked, 'How much is it?' He told me I could have it," said Mazur, thankful for her many answered prayers.
Born near Estevan, Sask., in 1914, Mazur has had an eventful life. Attending boarding school in Forget, Sask., she was approached by two nuns, twin sisters, about joining their order. After some discernment, Mazur, then 18, decided to join.
"When I entered the novitiate there were a lot of young sisters and I thought they were all perfect. Well, I found out none of us were perfect, and I wasn't perfect myself," said Mazur, laughing.
She did not speak French, but her first assignment was at a French school. Most of her work involved educating students in boarding schools throughout Saskatchewan and, during the summer, caring for the sick and elderly in their homes.
"I was glad to serve the Lord looking after children in the boarding schools. We did more than teach. We didn't want to hire many people because it would cost more, so we did a lot of other work ourselves. I even washed the boys' clothes, scrubbed their overalls," said Mazur.
She taught for seven years at a private school in Federal Way, Wash., a city between Seattle and Tacoma. Although she admittedly knew next to nothing about the sport, she was asked to coach the girls basketball team there. She agreed, and surprised everyone by leading the team to a championship.
For a year, in 1979, she was assigned to France. She also reminisced on caring for an elderly couple in Oakland, Calif.
"She's a very intelligent woman. She's actually amazing in many aspects," said Perron.
He finds it incredible that, in spite of her age, she has never lost her independence, travelling to public events, including the recent Heritage Days.
Apart from attending weekday Mass and parish funerals, she still goes to Eucharistic Adoration regularly, including 3 a.m. every Thursday.
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