Horvath celebrates diamond jubilee

By Francine Audy

SASKATOON — Sister Theresa Horvath, NDS, recently celebrated her 60th anniversary as a religious sister with the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion.

Born in Wakaw, Sask., Horvath has three siblings, Horvath began her connection with the Sisters of Sion as a student at Sion Academy in Prince Albert.

Her journey through religious life started with a question in Grade 11: “What can we do for the feast?” The feast was Jan. 20, the date when Our Lady appeared to Rev. Theodore Ratisbonne, founder of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion. Horvath’s answer was “become a sister.”

Three other girls joined the order with her in 1952. Horvath pronounced her first vows in 1954 and her perpetual vows in 1961 at the order’s mother house in Paris.

Horvath obtained a teaching certificate from Saskatchewan, as well as teaching and principal certificates from the state of Missouri. From 1956 to 1970, she taught in Dearborn, Mich., as well as Kansas City and Grandview, Mo.

As principal of a school in Kansas City, Horvath integrated the first black student in a white school in that city.

While in Missouri, Horvath obtained her bachelor of arts in 1962 and her master of arts in 1970.

From 1970 to 1976, she served in Canada, teaching Grades 3 to 7 in Toronto and Moose Jaw. She studied at Newman Theological College in Edmonton, and in 1971 earned her bachelor of theology degree.

For a sabbatical, Horvath spent a year as a student in Israel, where she felt encouraged to pursue Scripture studies.

While in Lourdes, a stop on the way home from her sabbatical, “I felt the call to the sick,” said Horvath. She shifted her interest from teaching to nursing, becoming an RN, with studies from 1976-79 and a career that spanned 1979 to 1999.

Although most of her working life took place elsewhere, with 18 years teaching in various places, and 32 years living in Edmonton, Horvath is now retired and living at Columbian Manor in Saskatoon.

Horvath remains busy doing God’s work. She does not forget her friends from the Edmonton area, as “every Saturday, I call a girl in Edmonton who has cerebral palsy,” and “I try to keep in contact with a friend with dementia.” Horvath keeps in touch with out-of-town friends mainly through email, and visits lonely people, drives other sisters around town, and cares for her plot at a community garden.

Asked how she keeps her prayer life vibrant, Horvath replied that “activities draw me into prayers.” However, she also sets time aside to spend with God, mostly by going to the chapel for a quiet time of prayer.

For Horvath, the hymn How Great Thou Art expresses her relationship with God. “God is the source of creation,” she says, adding, “God is wonderful and all loving.” Her love for camping is undoubtedly related to her love of God and nature.

For those who feel that God is calling them to religious life, Horvath agrees with the words of her colleague, Sister Jocelyn Monette, who recently celebrated her 50th anniversary as a Sister of Sion: “Pray for the openness to life” and there “is no need to be perfect before joining religious life.”

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