Sister Rose (Dosithea) Ann Luby, SSMI
1928 — 2015
Sister Rose Luby, a member of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate, died peacefully at St. Joseph’s General Hospital, Vegreville, AB on Thursday, November 12, 2015.
Rose was born on May 26, 1928, in Ottawa, ON and baptised and later confirmed in the nearby St. Anthony Roman Catholic Church. The Ukrainian Catholic Church, St. John the Baptist, was too distant from the family to regularly attend. She was the first child born to Dmytro Luby and Dominica (Wowk), who had emigrated from Western Ukraine before World War I. She had one sibling, Mary.
Rose attended Catholic Schools and attended Immaculate High School for one year, then attended the High School of Commerce the next year. She completed her High School education at Sacred Heart Academy in Yorkton, SK, after she had made her first profession of vows as a Sister Servant.
She became acquainted with the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate, who came to teach catechism in the parish in the summer months. Having experienced the call of Christ to religious life, Rose entered the Novitiate of the Sisters Servants in Mundare on November 05, 1944. She took the religious name, “Sr. Dosithea”, but in the early 1970s reverted to her baptismal name, “Rose.” She made first profession of vows on May 07, 1947, and final profession on August 15, 1953.
In her 71 years as a Sister Servant, Sr. Rose Luby generously served her religious community, church and people with her whole heart. She developed her talents, especially her musical and artistic ones, entrusted to her by the Lord, using them to enrich the Sisters Servants, schools and parishes.
For over thirty years, she was a creative and dedicated educator. She graduated from Toronto Teachers’ College. She studied at the Universities of Ottawa and Saskatchewan, graduating with a B. A. degree in 1971. She was an accredited teacher in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario. She served mainly as a classroom teacher in the primary grades. Grade one was her favourite! She taught in the following elementary Catholic Schools: USA: Minersville, PA; Alberta: St. Angela, Calgary; St. Michael, Edmonton; St. Martin, Vegreville; Saskatchewan: St. Joseph, Regina; Ontario: Ukrainian Catholic Schools: St. Josaphat, Toronto; Holy Spirit, Hamilton.
To make her teaching apostolate more fruitful, she devoted many summers to study. She was awarded certificates for Junior Art and Elementary Vocal Music. She took summer courses in Primary Reading and attended Catechetical Institutes, particularly those offered after Vatican II. But Sr. Rose was fully aware that her classroom mission was not complete unless she reached out to each student, especially those troubled, with concern and compassion. An excerpt from a letter she received from a former grade one student, almost forty years later testifies, to this.
It must have been difficult for anyone to like me. I know that most of the time I was not properly dressed or groomed. I remember telling tall tales all the time. I felt so much less than all the other children. Only a saint could like me.
These are the parts of my life I don’t enjoy remembering, but they are not my only memories. In the midst of that pain was a joy that still overwhelms me today: Sr. Dosithea’s Grade One class, a place where I could feel safe. Sister, I could feel your enthusiasm and it made me feel so alive. I knew that you loved all of us and it felt so safe. I can still see it today. It really didn’t matter what else was going on in my life because your classroom was a sanctuary that made my world such a wonderful place.
I still have my grade one report card and from the comments you wrote, I know that I was a challenge to you. Somehow you were able to see beyond all that, and I remember so vividly the extra time and effort you gave me.
Whenever you had an errand downtown, you took me along. I remember feeling so important whenever I went anywhere with you. You would even take me to the convent at noon. Even though I was not able to eat with the Sisters, it didn’t matter: Because whenever I went anywhere with you, it felt like God was smiling on me.
I am 45 years old now … You have been in my thoughts all these years. I am writing this letter to you because the memories of you were not enough. It is important that you know that, although we have been separated for many years, a part of you is always with me. You taught me about a loving God in more than one way. There was the daily Catechism but even more significant were your words and kind deeds. To this day I carry your lessons of love and I try my best to pass them on to others in the same way you did. You are truly my Earth Angel!
Remembering you and all you’ve done reminds me of what Christ’s message is really all about.
Throughout her teaching years, after school hours or on weekends, Sr. Rose also prepared children for First Holy Communion and taught Ukrainian School. When not attending summer school at a University, she devoted her summer months to teaching catechism in rural parishes and preparing children for First Holy Communion in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. She also taught at the Alberta Eparchial Summer Camp Oselia, at Lake Wabamun.
From 1986, Sr. Rose Luby entered a new phase of service, devoting all her energies to parish work at the two parishes in Calgary. She entered into parish life wholeheartedly: teaching catechism, conducting the Children of Mary and assisting with the Altar Servers. She met with young adults (university students and those working). Then she planned to organize the teens. As Sr. Rose put it: I am not an organizer, but I did ask the Lord to use me and He did!
During her sabbatical year at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA, Sr. Rose had time to rest, recoup her energies and prepare herself spiritually, to plunge into a new apostolate: She was missioned to the Edmonton North Home by the Cathedral, to be the first co-ordinator of the Edmonton Eparchial Catechetical Centre. She visited parishes in urban and rural centres, assisting catechists and sharing her wealth of catechetical experience.
From 1988 to 2010, Sr. Rose was missioned to serve as cantor at St. Josaphat Cathedral. She led the singing and responses for the 10:00 am Sunday Liturgy and served as cantor for daily and other liturgical celebrations: funeral services, weddings, anniversaries, for whenever she was requested. She prepared hymn sheets and booklets to involve the entire parish in the celebrations. She assisted with the Children of Mary. Her active life was her parish.
Sr. Rose Luby loved her community of Sisters Servants and devotedly carried out all responsibilities entrusted to her. She served as Provincial Secretary for one year. She was local Superior in the following homes: Provincial Home in Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton. She made every visitor feel right at home! She participated in Provincial Chapters and the SSMI Catechetical Workshops. She assisted in the SSMI Associate apostolate in Edmonton for a number of years.
On her 50th Jubilee as a Sister Servant, the Ukrainian Catholic Brotherhood of the Edmonton Eparchy rejoiced with her and expressed gratitude for her dedication, writing in their Bulletin:
The Sisters Servants exemplify what unconditional love is. They prepare themselves, first and foremost, by daily prayer. Out of this flows their service to the people. And this is Sr. Rose’s secret!
The twinkle in Sr. Rose’s eye and her loving and welcoming way has helped us understand what a genuine person she is, and how she affects each one of us who have the privilege of knowing her. She is a caring, compassionate disciple of Jesus, who works hard to bring the love of Christ into our hearts in our everyday duties of life.
From 2011, due to failing health, she had to discontinue her active mission. She joined the Sisters at St. Joseph’s Home in Mundare. It was time to heal, to serve her Lord and her sisters and brothers by prayers of intercession, and by offering her sufferings, physical and spiritual. Her faithfulness to the Lord and her loving devotion to the Mother of God and Blessed Josaphata sustained her in times of difficulty and pain.
As health permitted, she continued to serve her local community of Sisters Servants at St. Joseph’s Home and did whatever domestic duties her strength allowed. In advanced infirmity she was a witness to all who lived with her and to the guests of heroic coping with infirmity, striving not to be a burden, but rather, offering her help to those in more need and pain than she experienced. She will be cherished for her sense of humour, her devotion to the needy and her availability. Hers was a gentle and unassuming manner.
Sr. Rose Luby loved to travel and enjoyed nature and the beauties of art, architecture and music. She treasured her pilgrimages to Rome, Lourdes, Venice, and Assisi. For her, this was a great grace and blessing. She visited Ukraine in 1994, an unforgettable time.
She cherished her family and friends and tried to keep in contact with them as time allowed. She looked forward to visiting them and seeing her sister Mary and her nephews. She especially cherished her school-day friend Mrs. Anne Moisey in Ottawa. She encouraged them and prayed for them.
Sr. Rose Luby was predeceased by her parents. She is survived by her sister Mary in New York City and her nephews.