The Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate

Edmonton Honours the Contribution of Catholic Sisters to the Development of the Province of Alberta ~ (Photos courtesy of Covenant Health1. Used with permission. Click here to see their full photo gallery of this event, or here, for some other interesting links.)


“A new addition to the Alberta Legislature recognizes the courageous and intrepid religious women who helped to found the province, providing health care, education and social services to pioneer communities. A bronze monument unveiled today [September 28, 2011] honours all the congregations of Sisters who served across the province and celebrates their legacy of care and compassion carried on by others today.

“ ‘This monument serves as a powerful tribute to the impact the Catholic Sisters have had on so many lives in our province, including my own. As a young child, I experienced the care and compassion of the Catholic Sisters firsthand, and this is a fitting way to honour their service, dedication and care to countless Albertans,’ says Premier Ed Stelmach.”

~ from the Press Release of Covenant Health, Edmonton, Canada, September 28, 2011.
To see the entire press release, click here.

On Wednesday, September 28, 2011, Sisters Eugenia Stefaniuk, Ambrose Stachiw and Virginia Pryslak, of Mundare, AB, Esther Kurylo and Miriam Golyb, of Edmonton, Nestor Kyba, of Yorkton, SK, Janice Soluk, of Toronto, and Jean Zemliak, Provincial Counsellor, of Dauphin, MB2, attended the unveiling of the monument, Service through Christ, unveiled in front of the Legislative Buildings in Edmonton, to commemorate the contribution made by Religious Sisters of over 70 Congregations throughout the life of the province of Alberta, in the sacrifices they made to initiate and develop social services, including health care and education.

Herman_Poulin_artist blessing_of_the_statue Mass_at_Cathedral

The monument unveiled was a 10 foot bronze statue of a Sister holding a stained glass piece, which incorporates symbols of their faith and ministry. The artist commissioned for the work, Herman Poulin, took this opportunity to honour the influence of Sisters in his own life, who mentored him and encouraged him in his artistic pursuits as a student. To hear him speak of his creation in a video tribute, along with others on the significance of the work of Catholic Sisters to the life and growth of the province of Alberta, click here.

The unveiling ceremony included a read blessing of the monument, by His Grace, Archbishop Richard Smith, of Edmonton Diocese, and blessing with holy water, by His Excellency, Bishop David Motiuk, of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton. Following the unveiling was a special Mass, held at St. Joseph’s Basilica, the cathedral of Edmonton, concelebrated by Archbishop Smith, Bishop Motiuk, and His Grace, Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak, OSBM, of the Archeparchy of Winnipeg, who spent many years serving in Sts. Peter and Paul parish in Mundare, AB, and later serving also as Bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton. Twenty two Ukrainian Catholic clergy and numerous Roman Catholic clergy also served at the Liturgy. During the Liturgy, a number of Sisters were asked to offer the Prayers of the Faithful in various languages. Our Sr. Nestor gave the intention in the Ukrainian language.

Ed_Stelmach_and_SSMI SSMI_at_reception

During the Liturgy, Premier Ed Stelmach sat at the front of the church, requesting that our Sisters Servants sit with him. He and his wife also joined the Sisters’ table at the reception following the Mass, as did Metropolitan Huculak. Premier Stelmach, from the Mundare area, holds our Sisters particularly close to his heart, as mentors in his own growing years. As a young child, just starting school, he was hospital-bound for several months, losing precious study time at school. He only spoke Ukrainian at that time, but while in the Sisters’ hospital in Mundare, the Sisters taught him English. When he returned to school, the teachers assumed he would be too far behind to catch up to the others. They found, as a result of the Sisters’ care, his knowledge surpassed that of his classmates.

1Covenant Health is Canada’s largest Catholic health care organization with over 14,000 physicians, employees and volunteers serving in 12 communities across Alberta. A major provider in Alberta’s integrated health system, Covenant Health works with Alberta Health Services and community partners to positively influence the health of Albertans through a broad range of programs and services. (~ to top)

2Srs. Eugenia, Ambrose and Virginia currently are missioned at Mary Immaculate Hospital, in Mundare, where Premier Ed Stelmach experienced the caring ministry of nurse, Sr. Nestor, and other co-Sisters as a child. Sr. Virginia also was on the planning committee with Covenant Health for this event. Sr. Janice Soluk, past General Superior, also served at Mary Immaculate Hospital in Mundare, for many years. Sr. Jean Zemliak, Provincial Counsellor, representing our current acting Provincial, Sr. Patricia Lacey, is also in health care ministry at St. Paul’s Nursing Home in Dauphin. Sr. Esther spent many years in Alberta, in the education ministry in Vegerville, and in Calgary and Edmonton, particularly in the catechetical and pastoral ministries. Sr. Miriam, of our Ukrainian Province, is currently involved in parish work in Edmonton. (~ back to story)