Celebratory mass concludes weekend
By Frank Flegel
LEBRET, Sask. — Historic Sacred Heart Church in Lebret, Sask., was packed August 19 for the mass that ended a weekend of celebration for the 150th anniversary of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions (RNDM). Lebret was one of the first places the RNDM arrived when they first came to Canada about 114 years ago. The 11:00 a.m. mass was celebrated by Archbishop Daniel Bohan, with Msgr. Ken Miller, Pastor Rev. Louis Ngyuen and Rev. Glen Zimmer, OMI, of the Qu’Appelle House of Prayer.
Trumpets have always been associated with jubilee celebrations and this mass began with The Trumpet Shall Sound from the Messiah performed by Andrew Polasek of Christ the King Parish, Regina. The choir had representatives from the communities of Lebret, Fort Qu’Appelle, Wolseley and Christ the King Parish.
Bohan began his homily with a quote from St. Paul in a letter to a community of faith in Ephesus in which he reminded the people to understand what the will of the Lord is.
“The search to understand the will of the Lord led Sister Adele-Euphrasie Barbier to found the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions, in Lyon, France in December 1861.”
Bohan said she associated her new community with the Marist Fathers and had some problems with them over who in fact was in charge of her sisters. “But it was clear that in her life the one who was ultimately in charge was Jesus. Over everyone else, including herself, it was the will of Jesus which had pre-eminence and so her community flourished.”
In celebrating the 150th anniversary, said the archbishop, “we celebrate the faith of these women, faith lived in the face of many adversities and challenges.” The body of his homily spoke of faith and what the Holy Father called a “profound crisis in faith” and the proclamation of the Year of the Faith to rediscover the joy of the faith and the enthusiasm for communicating the faith.
“We have experienced Jesus in our lives and he fills us with the power of the Holy Spirit, so we can extend the kingdom of God, continuing the work begun here by the sisters we celebrate today and for whom we say ‘thank you’ to God.”
The local Knights of Columbus put on a traditional pancake breakfast following the mass. Sister Anna Aulie, who chaired the celebrations, said some of the 49 registered sisters after the breakfast visited and prayed over the graves of some of the early sisters who lie in the graveyard adjacent to the church.
The more than 150 prayer shawls knitted by the sisters and their friends for the anniversary were taken through donations and all of the money raised is to be used for the missionary work of the RNDMs.