THE SISTERS OF THE PRESENTATION OF MARY SAY FAREWELL AND THANK YOU TO THE PARISH OF ST. ISIDORE IN BELLEVUE, SASKATCHEWAN
On August 23rd, 2015, the Sisters of the Province of Prince Albert went to Bellevue, Saskatchewan, to say good-bye and thank you to the people of this small village, â€œone of the most beautiful parishes of the diocese.â€? It was exactly 61 years since they had arrived in Bellevue.
In 1927, the Sisters had come to Bellevue to study the possibility of opening a mission there, but because Wakaw and Duck Lake were already established, this project was postponed to a later date. In March, 1952, Father Hector Robert, the priest of St. Isidore Parish, made the first step to invite the Sisters to come there. He wrote a letter to Sr. St. Gildas, (Marie-Louise Grenier, a native of Bellevue) the bursar of the Sisters in Prince Albert.
Father Robert wrote: â€œA large number of students of our country schools leave school after Grade 8, and sometimes sooner, because the parents cannot afford to send them elsewhere for High School, or because it is not a priority for them. If they knew that the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary were coming to Bellevue, they would build a high school. There is no time to lose; the amalgamation of the small country schools will happen very soon. You know that by taking over this school, you will likely have vocations. Bellevue is one of the best parishes in the diocese. So far, it has given 28 Sisters, 2 priests and 3 Brothers to the Church. If you would take over here, I am sure that you would have vocations every year. Moreover, the road going east to Domremy is being paved and within the next two years will be a modern highway. I spoke about all this to Bishop Duprat, and I beg you to plead our cause to your Provincial Superior, Mother Ste. Lutgarde.â€?
In 1953, the Sisters assured Father Robert that they would be there to teach in the new school at the beginning of the school year 1954-1955. His dream had come true. Father Robert offered them his rectory as convent and the parish built him a new one. Five founding Sisters arrived there on August 23rd, 1954. Sixty-one years later, on August 23rd 2015, a thanksgiving Mass followed by a “brunch” united the whole parish of St. Isidore-deBellevue.
THE SISTERS ENTERED THE MASS IN PROCESSION WITH ROSES IN THEIR HANDS.
THANKSGIVING FROM THE DIOCESE
Among the many testimonies shared during the lunch was the following: â€œNumerous Sisters have left an enduring souvenir in the memory of the parishioners and the students. The Sisters were always diligent in their work and St. Isidore School was renowned for the quality of the teaching.
The Sisters and the lay teachers were committed to the holistic development of the students. There was a very strong family spirit, a lot of sharing and of personal effort on the part of everyone.
In the name of all the lay teachers and all the people in town, we say a grateful MERCI. In return, the greatest joy that we can wish for you is the canonization of Marie Rivier.â€? (Yvette Gareau/Ruel).
HOW DO WE SAY THANK YOU TO A RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY THAT HAS BEEN WITH US FOR 61 YEARS?
A PLAGUE WAS GIVEN IN RECOGNITION FOR THEIR PRECIOUS CONTRIBUTION AND THEIR EXEMPLARY SERVICE IN THE PARISH, IN THE SCHOOL AND IN THE PARISH.
The Sisters who were living in the â€˜Convent-Novitiateâ€™ in Bellevue have now moved to the house at 2210, Douglas Avenue, North Battleford, recently purchased by the Province of Prince Albert.