Sr. Andrea Dumont

Sr. Andrea Dumont

May 18, 2015
EVAN BOUDREAU
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

Sister Andrea Dumont, a missionary Sister of St. Joseph, has been honoured this year with Catholic Missions In Canada's St. Joseph Award.

The award is presented annually at Catholic Missions' Tastes of Heaven gala, held April 24 at Bellvue Manor in Vaughan, Ont.

Dumont was fêted for her missionary work that took her first to Guatemala and then back to Canada and the North where the soft-spoken sister has worked since 1981 in the Archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas.

She is currently at Thompson and Nelson House, Man., known locally as the Hub of the North, where Dumont serves a community of about 13,000 with adult education and spiritual support.

SHE WANTED TO GIVE

"I wanted to be a missionary because I wanted to work with the poor. I wanted to give whatever I had to give to make their lives a little easier," said Dumont, who spent 14 years in Guatemala before conditions became too dangerous.

"I just felt I was being called there. I grew more spiritually as a missionary than I had ever grown in my faith before."

Following Vatican II, Dumont was one of four from her community, which at the time had more than 500 members, assigned to its new mission in an increasingly violent Guatemala.

During that time, the former Catholic school teacher from St. Catharines, Ont., said she learned to lean on God for guidance when unsure how to help the local peasants, as grenades from the Guatemalan army – which didn't appreciate the sisters' presence in the area – tore apart the home she shared with other missionaries.

"I developed a greater dependence on God and a deeper relationship with Jesus in those years . . . (because) all you could do was say 'God help me do for these people what they need.'"

RECOGNIZE ALL MISSIONARIES

Although honoured, Dumont declined to accept the award in her name alone, requesting it be seen as recognition of all of those who have spent time serving in a mission.

"It is in their name I will accept it because there are a lot of unsung heroes there," she said.

Bishop Gary Gordon of Victoria, whose annual West Coast fishing trip raises funds for Taste of Heaven, said Dumont truly represents Canadian missionaries collectively.

"Congratulations, and yes you do represent so many of our missionaries here in Canada," said Gordon. "There is nothing greater than the vocation to missionary life."

More than 500 people attended the Tastes of Heaven and raised more than $380,000 to support the work of Canadian missionaries.