Annunciation Parish Celebrates The Sisters' Contribution
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto are fondly remembered in Prince Rupert, B.C for their 76-year contribution to Catholic education in the city. An invitation was extended to the Sisters’ Leadership Team to have representation at the Annunciation Parish Centennial Celebration held from May 25 to June 1, 2008. Sisters Mary Macoretta and Bernadette Robinson, who had both served in Prince Rupert, flew from Toronto to join the festivities.
What had brought the Sisters to this city? On March 8, 1908, Oblate Father Emile Bunoz was appointed to head the Prefecture Apostolic of the Yukon and Prince Rupert. He chose Prince Rupert as his residence. His pastoral concern led him to search for religious communities to establish schools and hospitals. And so it was in 1916 that four Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto took the long journey to the Pacific North West to begin a ministry in education that lasted seventy-six years.
The Sisters first established an elementary school, then, over the years, a high school. Commercial and music departments were added features. By 1992, when they left, more than 100 Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto had lived and worked in Prince Rupert. During their visit to Annunciation School, Sisters Mary and Bernadette posed beside the commemorative carving (see photo at left) in the entrance. The piece acknowledging the role the Sisters played in the lives of the students depicts St. Joseph holding a small child as other children gather around him.
During the week of celebration, the Sisters were heartened to meet old friends and to witness a vibrant school and parish community that had planned the many events. To honour cultures that have served Annunciation, an International Rosary at which parishioners wore their traditional dress (see photo at right) took place. Decades were led in Vietnamese, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Tagalog (Filipino).
On June 1, Sr. Jane Dwyer, presently serving in Fort St. James, traveled down for the Centennial Mass celebrated by Bishop Gerald Wiesner OMI, followed by a banquet and dance. The Annunciation Centennial Committee deserves the highest praise for the success of the celebration of "100 Years of Parish Community Life."
By Bernadette Robinson CSJ