My dear friends. it is a great pleasure for me to be with you today for this very special and important ceremony. I don’t think that I have ever been up in front of so many “nuns.”
In the shadow of the Legislature Building here in Regina, today we carry out a special unveiling of this statue. It is a beautiful work of art which recognizes the life-changing contribution that has been made in education and health care for the benefit of the people of Saskatchewan by the women belonging to Catholic religious communities.
These women began their work in the 1860s as a service to the families of our early settlers and to what would become the new province in which they lived. Pope Francis has continually called upon us to adopt a culture of encounter, encouraging us to understand that faith calls us to service of one another, particular those who often find themselves nudged to the outside of a prosperous society.
Long before Pope Francis reminded us of this fundamental characteristic of our faith, the sisters looked into the young faces of children and youth and of those suffering pain and illness and recognized their need.
They set out to provide these children with quality education and the province with a strong force of educated citizens who would build a future of stability and integrity which we enjoy today.
They taught them not only how to do math and English. They taught them how to be good human beings and citizens, how to live with respect for others. They taught them about honesty and justice and good will and self-sacrifice, the virtues which make a community strong and stable and a good place in which to live.
Amid challenging circumstances and the often limited resources of a pioneer community they built firm foundations of learning and healing. As communities of Christian women, they built their lives on religious faith which called them to dispel the darkness of ignorance and to bring healing and health to the people among whom they lived. Their faith sent them out to bring healing to the sick and comfort to the afflicted.
We all benefit today from the efforts of these women and their selfless labours. It is good for us to remember them and to follow their example that we may continue the spirit with which they reached out and touched the lives of the men, women and children around them and brought to them the light of knowledge and the restorative comfort of loving care and healing.
This tribute was given by Archbishop Bohan at the Sisters Legacy program in Regina, Oct. 1.