REGINA — After a five-year battle with cancer, former Regina archdiocesan director of Pastoral Services Sister Anastasia Young, SSS, died peacefully May 1. Her funeral, held Tuesday, May 5, at St. Peter’s Parish, attracted over 200, including 14 priests and two archbishops, members of her community and friends from eastern and central Canada, family, friends and former co-workers from the Regina archdiocese. She was the last of her community, Sisters of Social Service, in Regina.
Born Mary Ann Young in Regina, she was attracted to the Sisters of Social Service and as a young teenager was sent to Los Angeles where she was received into the community. In earlier interviews she described being so far away from home for the first time as very difficult, but with prayer and determination she answered the call to her vocation and entered a life of service as Sister Anastasia that lasted more than 50 years.
She served in several capacities in retreat facilities, and parishes in Central and Eastern Canada until 2004, when she returned home to Regina as director of pastoral services, which she held until her retirement in June 2014.
Sister of Social Service general director Sister Jeanine Scarfone described Young as one who loved life. “She had a sharp and curious mind, a creative imagination, a great sense of humour and a beautiful musical talent.”
Returning to Regina, she became an avid Saskatchewan Roughrider football fan, said Scarfone, “and you could find her in front of the TV wearing her green Roughrider jersey yelling and screaming as if she was in the stadium.”
Young loved music. In an interview with the PM when she returned to Regina she said music was her life.
Scarfone, in her eulogy of Anastasia, said she had the ability to hear a piece of music once and was able to play it on any number of instruments. She also composed her own music and composed the music for the archdiocesan centennial in 2010. She often played her keyboard and led the singing at some of the archdiocesan staff celebrations.
Scarfone said Anastasia did not despair when she was diagnosed with cancer five years ago, but took it as a challenge. “Her attitude was ‘If we try to live each day with trust in God aware that each day may be our last, then it is possible that we, too, will be open to life-changing experience of the Holy Spirit and so become true icons of Christ spreading something of God’s hope to all whom we meet.’ ”
Regina Archbishop Daniel Bohan in his remarks at the beginning of mass said, “Today we celebrate her life with us here and her life now with God.” Bohan was the celebrant of the mass with Winnipeg Archbishop Emeritus James Weisgerber and 14 priests as concelebrants.