Stories of Joy - No. 6 - IHM School fundraising raffle and two winners

In Canada

Of the 46 tickets for the Winnipeg Immaculate Heart of Mary School Fundraising Raffle the caring Sister Servant had sold this one year, three were drawn. We learned the story of one winner and it is absolutely beautiful. Five years earlier, a Canadian Eatery in Calgary had secured the services of a young woman from Ukraine, employed her fairly, but gave her lodgings at the edge of the city, and totally away from the Ukrainian neighbourhoods. She worked many weekends, and only after a long time, found her way to Sunday church — in and quickly out, without making contacts. One Sunday, a Sister Servant who did parish work noticed her, walked up to her and heard her story. She ended it by relating an episode with Immigration Canada, where her application had been misplaced, and she needed to reapply. Sister promised to find her a family from the city who then drove up and brought her to the Liturgy on all her free Sundays or Saturday evenings. The Sister bought a few IHMS raffle tickets, and wrote the lady’s name on two of them. (Another two were signed for a kind and helpful neighbour). Imagine the joy of the woman, when she learned that she had won a cash prize, thanks to the Sister. Her remark: “Thank you, Sister. This is the first time in my life that I ever received anything free, our home circumstances were quite poor. I shall pray for you. Oh my God, thank you!” This same week, she received a positive response from Immigration, and also celebrated her 28th birthday.

Some weeks later, there was another moment of joy. Two Sisters were also prize winners, one in Calgary and one in Saskatoon. In a phone call to the latter, the zealous SSMI ticket seller light-heartedly asked her how she spent her win … “We put the cheque in the bank! But tonight we Sisters who are missioned in this city made our decision. We just returned from the funeral of a young family man whose wife died a few years ago, and who now leaves three orphaned children of elementary school age. He had worked hard to keep the family together, helped by his own mother. They were all there, huddled around their paternal grandmother. The family was never financially secure, and we are giving our entire winning towards the care of the children. What we really hope to do is to help establish an education fund for them.” The Sister wept as she recalled the words of the Psalmist: The Lord cares for the widowed and the orphan.

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