Tuesday, October 20, 2020
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Niagara School Board Recognizes Its Pioneers

It was an evening of accolades and tributes. On Feb. 24, 2009, the Niagara District Catholic School Board officially dedicated each of the meeting rooms in the Education Centre to a different religious community — all were pioneers in beginning Catholic schools in the area. Eight communities, including the Holy Cross Fathers, had between three to eight representatives present. We Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto were named and asked to stand. The five of us, pictured right, l.to r., Sisters Pat Conway, Kathleen Conway, Helen Kluke, Loretta Rollheiser and Anne Schenck, felt very much appreciated by this thoughtful dedication.

The well-produced DVD of the history of each founding community was shown. It will become part of the Grades seven and ten curriculum to be taught annually. The Sisters of St. Joseph's depiction was superb —  pictures illustrated our history as it was read. It was truly a celebration of past, present and future as the Board is making every effort to build on the firm foundation laid by these pioneers.

A representative of each Community addressed the Board and guests present. Sister Pat Conway spoke eloquently, bringing greetings from Sr. Margaret Myatt and the Leadership Team as well as remembering all those who have been such an integral part of this journey here in the St. Catharines Diocese. She also alluded to the many vocations in our community from this area, which again was received with a round of applause. She thanked the Board for making us all feel so appreciated for our presence and for the work that has been done and is still continuing.

Then each Community was led to the specific room designated in their honour. There we awaited Bishop Wingle and board members. The five of us were introduced to "our" room. A red ribbon was placed before us and we were handed scissors. After the blessing and prayer of dedication, we all cut the ribbon at once and were given a piece to take with us. Again we received a round of applause.

The CSJ room is at the front of the building near the entrance. Walking into the room, we were struck by the cross created by Sister Helen Kluke, with a framed picture of our original convent on the left and the plaque of our history on the right. There was much nostalgia over the picture. Time to socialize and reminisce followed: what a wonderful and inspiring evening!

By Loretta Rollheiser CSJ


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