My ministry story
What gets me up in the morning? This is a question posed by Fr. Arrupe SJ. I like to think it is that I am looking forward to “being good news” to the people I will meet during the day. My life has taken me to many places in the world, but my desire to be good news has been a constant.
After the Novitiate in Calgary, I went to Dublin to study Science at University College, Dublin. I came back to Canada to do my teacher training and spent four years teaching at Madonna High School in Toronto. This was an all-girls school and we were four FCJs in the School. Next I was asked to go out West to Coaldale Alberta to teach in an elementary school. This is where I finally realized I was not cut out to be a teacher. Thankfully I was asked to work with the parishes in Calgary who were sponsoring the Vietnamese refugees (boat people). This was a first in private sponsorship and it has proved to be an excellent way for people in parishes to get involved with refugees. This launched my ministry in social justice.
I am grateful that my community has always supported my ministry in this area, as it is not a well-paying job! After my ministry with the refugees in Calgary, I worked for a short time in Toronto at the Jesuit Centre for Social Faith and Justice where I helped Sr. Rosalie Bertell, GNSH, an expert in low-level radiation.
Then came the invitation to join the FCJ mission in Sierra Leone. I was there for ten years, helping people to help themselves through a development education program called Training for Transformation. After all that time, I developed a condition called “mal d’Afrique”, that is, a love for all things African. After all this time, I still love to talk about Africa to anyone who will listen! This experience has enabled me to see things from another perspective. I try to keep up with news from Africa as well as other places, so that my sympathies and prayers are with those who are suffering from all manner of injustices and misfortunes. Now I am again working with refugees in Toronto, at the FCJ Refugee Centre. This is how I am living out my life as a Faithful Companion of Jesus—being with Jesus at the foot of the cross where he is suffering now.