REGINA — A full day of celebration, discussion, speakers and sharing of stories celebrated 2015 the Year of Consecrated Life announced by Pope Francis November 2013.
”It was a really positive experience,” said Marian Grady, a member of the secular institute, Oblate Missionaries of Mary Immaculate and one of the organizers of the event. The Sisters Association of the Regina Archdiocese (SARA) organized the day.
It was an open event that included both secular and those living consecrated life. It included talks by several who described their vocations and how they came to it, and one presentation by David and Faye Helmson describing their experiences working with some consecrated life communities. Both are retired and volunteer in hospitals and the Marian Centre a downtown Regina soup kitchen operated by members of the Madonna Apostolate.
There are 17 Congregations of Women Religious working in the Regina archdiocese and almost all were represented at the event Held July 13 at Holy Child Parish.
Sister Teresita Kambeitz, OSU, came from Saskatoon and gave a history of how sisters arrived in Saskatchewan and the work they did establishing schools, hospitals and other programs. Eric Hanna, on a journey to ordination in the Jesuit order, gave a PowerPoint presentation of Jesuit life. Carmelite Solitary Sister Benedicta of the Cross described her life as a solitary; Members of Madonna House described their vocation operating soup kitchens and prayer houses in Canada and several other countries; Myriam Family of the Prairies talked about their arrival in Saskatchewan and their work with churches and children, and, between the various presentations, there were table discussions and sharing of stories.
Sister Yvette Plessis, SCSL, chair of the event, said in an interview with the PM that vocations in the western world are declining and the huge numbers of the past is longer the reality. “Smaller individualized not institutionalized personal ministries I think are going to be the new normal.”
Working in partnership with other committed lay men and women and other consecrated persons is also the new shape of consecrated men and women today. “We’re not going to be six to eight people running something but we’re working in partnership.” Vocations are increasing in the developing countries, said Plessis.
“The day went really well. We have different forms of consecrated life and each person spoke to their form of life. We had time for prayer, to sing. We had really good feedback,” said Plessis.
Plessis was also one of three sisters celebrating significant anniversaries. She and Sister Bernadette Feist, OSU, celebrated 50 years and Sister Agnes Fillion, RNDM, celebrated 75 years of vocation.
The event also saw a change in SARA executive, with Sister Theresa Frey, IBVM, as the new president and Sister Bernadette Feist ending her term.