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Van Gennip ministered to First Nations

By Paula Fournier


PRINCE ALBERT — Sister Christina Waltera Van Gennip, who kept pastoral care of Sturgeon Lake First Nation, died peacefully at Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert on April 13 at the age of 74 after a long battle with cancer.

Bishop Albert Thévenot, M. Afr., expressed his gratitude for all the work she gave so willingly in First Nations ministry and to the people of Sturgeon Lake.

In 1975, as a Sister of Loretto, Van Gennip and her friend and ministry partner, Sister Pat Grisé, taught in First Nation ministry in the community of Mobert, Ont. In 1982 they travelled to the Diocese of Prince Albert to mission to the population of Sturgeon Lake First Nation, northwest of Prince Albert, for Bishop Blaise Morand.

In August 1983 they founded Kateri House, keeping the ministry home-based to offer flexible hours and a welcoming environment for those seeking pastoral care.

Sent as a missionary by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Roy Wilmhoff joined Kateri’s Companions in April 2004. In 2009 he became a permanent member of the lay mission association.

Although Grisé passed away in 2010, Van Gennip and Wilmhoff continued to work with a permanent commitment to mission, always open to other individuals looking to join a ministry with a similar calling. The year 2013 marked the 30th anniversary of the association.

The funeral took place on April 16 at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Prince Albert. A memorial service will be held at a later date in Ontario. Donations in honour of Van Gennip’s life may be made to Kateri’s Companions in Ministry, 410 12th St. W., Prince Albert, Sask. S6V 3B8.

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