Union: Newfoundland and Labrador – Closing of St. Catherine’s Renewal Centre

From the remarks by Presentation Sister Betty Rae Lee

Preparation for Presentation Centre – Home of Lionel Kelland Hospice
The storytellers of a people hold the sacred memory. They keep the memory alive and help us name what really grounds us as we move from one generation to the next. They help us remember our glorious ancestry, the rock from which we were hewn and the quarry from which we were dug.
The story we are living today began a long time ago and has deep roots in a cosmic creation story. That story began 13.9 billion years ago when God’s gratuitous love created the universe. Our common story is also deeply rooted in the land and the sea of this place we call home, Newfoundland and Labrador. Then, there are our Christian and Presentation roots in the life and example of Jesus of Nazareth and the spirit and charism of Venerable Nano Nagle, foundress of the Presentation Sisters. And today, we celebrate our deep roots with you, the people of Grand Falls-Windsor, you and your faithful ancestors.

Strong roots, a glorious ancestry, a noble heritage.

The legacy of our presence in this sacred place is held by those who know the story.

Presentation Sisters first came to Grand Falls-Windsor as educators in 1933 and since that time 175 Sisters and former members have been in ministry in this area. 72 of those Sisters are still living.

In September 1965 St. Catherine’s Boarding School opened and became home to Nagle Hall where many young women from all over the province found in this sacred place a “home away from home” as they pursued their high school education at St. Catherine’s.

As we hold tenderly the lives of these women in a treasured narrative, our hearts are indeed grateful for the friendships that have continued down the long years.

A new life for the building began when St. Catherine’s Renewal Centre began its ministry in 1975 under the capable direction of Sister Mary Dower and our other founding Sisters, Philomena Christopher and Frances King.
Mary will now reflect on these wonderful days.

St Catherine’s Renewal Centre Closing – Reflection – Mary Dower pbvm

In God’s universal dream for all creation we were drawn together for a time. There is indeed pain for all of us in seeing the Centre close yet we trust that the God who has led us to this point will continue to be faithful to nurturing life through the next use of this building. This is the legacy we leave behind. The building honors our heritage and will be renamed Presentation Centre. We are working in partnership with a wonderful Lionel Kelland Hospice Board to provide a state of the art end of life hospice where the operative words will be Care, Respect and Dignity. Some of our Board members are here today, including our Board Chair, Mr. Allan Bradley.

A new story is waiting to be told here
and now the time has come
for us to leave this sacred place
strong in this holy company of living faith.
May you know that absence is full of tender presence
and that nothing is ever lost or forgotten.

The various aspects of the story were interspersed with Miriam Martin’s song Speak the Story and people from the area who were part of the story lighted candles in a ritual which traced the history.

(Excerpts from the ritual led by Sister Betty Rae Lee on November 21, 2017 where a full chapel of friends of the Centre attended the closing ritual and reception.)