La Salette Sisters in Vancouver

How were the La Salette Sisters invited to serve in Vancouver?

The Installation of the SNDS Canada
Community at Holy Trinity Parish was
celebrated on Nov. 18, 2012 during Mass;
(L to R) Sr. Marilyn Antonio, Fr. James Comey
(pastor),Sr. Minerva Boado, Sr. Marijo Valenton,
Sr. Margaret (Mimi) Ei May Kyin, and Fr. Rey.

In 2009, a General Council Member, Sr. Sonia Silverio, SNDS, while visiting her relatives in Vancouver had the occasion to meet J. Michael Miller, CSB, Archbishop of Vancouver. The Archbishop mentioned that he was open to welcoming the La Salette Sisters into his archdiocese.

In August of 2011, Sr. Elisabeth Guiboux, SNDS, and Sr. Marilyn J. Antonio, SNDS, spent twelve days visiting the different parishes that requested our presence and ministry. The welcoming spirit of the people and helpful assistance of the hosting priests and the Archbishop were simply wonderful.

After much prayer, we selected Holy Trinity Parish in North Vancouver, British Columbia because it offered a convenient complex, including a convent with a large chapel, a school and the parish church. We spoke with Archbishop Miller, requesting ministry at Holy Trinity and offered to open the School in September of 2012.

With the decisions being made in July 2012, our Superior General, Sr. Elisabeth Guiboux, SNDS, gave the mandate to me as Sister in charge of the Canadian Mission. The Province of the Philippines also sent Sr. Minerva I. Boado, SNDS, to be a member of the new community.

On August 19, 2012, the two La Salette Sisters from the Philippines arrived and were welcomed warmly. On October 19, 2012, Sr. Margaret Ei May Kyin, SNDS arrived from Myanmar. On November 18, 2012, we were formally established in the Archdiocese by Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB through a letter read during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist by Rev. James Patrick Comey, Pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in the presence of Sr. Maria Josephine Valenton, SNDS, Delegate of Sr. Elisabeth Guiboux, SNDS.

What Ministries are you involved in?

Sr. Margaret with her First Grade class

As is customary in the Archdiocese, we joined others in the yearly certification seminars. We met more wonderful people. Our ministry includes many facets: serving as Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, Sacristans and Readers. We also lead the Religious Education Program and Teacher Training as well as Preparation Classes for Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation. We were also invited to assist with two other programs: Women in Crisis and Married Couples with Marital problems. We also assist with Visitation of the Sick and Wake Services, and help facilitate the seminar: “Catholic Faith Exposed” (to welcome people back to Church).

What are your feelings and hopes about
ministering in Western Canada?

Our first year in this Mission was full of the Mercy of God. Chosen from all women in our Congregation, armed with the seed of faith implanted in our hearts by our loved ones at a tender age, matured by the experiences in community, guided by the teachings of Jesus in the Holy Scriptures and the Rule of life of our Congregation, inspired by our Mother of Reconciliation to go make her Message known to the farthest corner of the world, we rely on the Mercy of our Compassionate God to be protected and sustained as we face the challenges of the Mission in a first world country. We keep the scripture passage in mind which says: “As the Father sent me, so am I sending you” (Jn 20:21).

What did you say to the parishioners when you were asked
to speak about the La Salettes, their mission and charism?

Fr. Conrad H. Blanchet, M.S.
(1915-1998), later La Salette
Superior General from
1964 to 1970.

I was asked by the Pastor, Fr. James Comey, to speak about La Salette in 2012 on Mission Sunday at all five Masses. I also spoke about our brothers, the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette and their Mission in the world. I spoke to the parishioners about how, in 1948, the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette headed by Fr. Conrad H. Blanchet, M.S., went to the Philippines to further evangelize our country. These wonderfully committed Missionaries planted and nurtured the seed of faith in the hearts of our people and it bore much fruit. In fact, some of our people were eventually sent to evangelize the people of several other countries, including India and Australia.

We discovered the reality that Our Lady of La Salette must be made known to all God’s people. As a way to make known Mary’s message of reconciliation in Holy Trinity Parish, we have begun the Novena to Our Lady of La Salette on September 10, 2012 and celebrated Mass on Her Feast Day. Our celebration in September 2013 included more people for the Novena and we celebrated Mary’s Feast Day well on Sept. 19th.

Group picture taken in Forget, Saskatchuan
, in 1905 of the La Salettes serving in Western
Canada (from top left): Frs. Perrin, Morard,
Gerboud, Girard, Trapeau, Michel and Rivoire.

We are so very pleased about hearing some stories of how people are inspired by our presence and ministry here at Holy Trinity Parish. It is also very consoling to know that they prayed for many years to have sisters to serve in their parish. We feel loved and supported unconditionally by our fellow parishioners. We realize and have experienced how God takes care of his people. We hope to serve here for many years to come, inspiring and supporting each other in faith.

Do you have any other comments?

We are aware that the La Salette Missionaries served in Western Canada in the early 1900s in Saskatchuan and Manitoba and pray that perhaps our mission will one day welcome back Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette to serve alongside us in the Archdiocese of Vancouver.

The SNDS Constitution says: “The grace of La Salette sensitizes the Sisters to the Call of Christ, who came to announce the Good News to the poor. They want to pass on the call to conversion launched by Mary for the sake of “Her people”: ‘If they are converted’ and to respond to Her request: ‘Well , my children, make it known to all My people’” (#36).

(from left): Holy Trinity Elementary School; Fr. James Comey (pastor) and Sr. Marijo
Valenton with the three SNDS Sisters; Façade of Holy Trinity Parish Church.

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