Ministry of Presence in Canada's North
Did you think Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto are found only in Toronto? Meet Sister Trudy Zunti, pictured at right, who received an award for her work after 3 ½ years in Thompson, Manitoba, where she lived with Sister Andrea Dumont. Sister Trudy is on the short side, round, blue-eyed and smiling — about the most welcoming, non-threatening person you could hope to meet.
I asked Sister Trudy about her Thompson ministry. "Well," she said, "I did just about the same thing I used to do in Parkdale. I was trying to get to know the people and let them get to know me. I started helping in the church soup kitchen, then in the afternoon I'd walk around — to the plaza, the mall, wherever — and talk to people. All is relationship!
"Of course, I visited families in the parish as well as the hospital and the nursing home, but it was just being among the people wherever they were that got them to know me and recognize me when I'd meet them in other places." Those places included the Friendship Centre where many met to learn basic skills such as literacy, and the Addiction Foundation.
She went wherever the people were, to be their friend, so that when she was called to visit someone ill or in trouble she was not another official, she was a friend.
Before long various committees were asking her for advice. How could they make things better? How could they become more approachable? Sister Trudy worked with any group trying to help people. Her time at the homeless shelter led to her receiving an award from the Juniper Centre in Thompson. The certificate read: "Heroes are those who help others unselfishly." And the plaque was engraved:
Hero of Mental Health
Sister Trudy has now returned to Morrow Park, but on a short visit to Thompson, she heard over and over again, "We missed seeing you around everywhere!" As she says, "All is relationship."
By Mary Buckley CSJ