Sister Nestor Kyba passed to her eternal reward on 24 December 2021, at home in Yorkton, SK, at the age of 94 years, with 76 years in religious life.
Halia was born to Stephen and Katherine (nee Ewachiw) Kyba on 2 August 1927, on their homestead near Veregin, SK. There she grew up with her sister Daria and brother Russell. She received her early education at Mikado School, and high school education at Sacred Heart Academy in Yorkton. She did part-time work, assisting at the Municipal Office of Mikado, prior to entering religious life.
Halia entered the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate on 30 August 1945 in Mundare, AB. On 1 March 1946, she received her habit, and began her novitiate training, with the name, Sister Nestor. She was one of the group of novices who experienced the transfer of the Novitiate to Ancaster, ON, where, on 2 March 1948, she pronounced her first vows. Sister Nestor professed perpetual vows on 15 August 1954.
Sister Nestor served as a nurse’s aide in the Mundare Hospital after her first vows, where it was recognized that she had a gift for caring for the sick. She began formal training in nursing, obtaining RN standing under the Misericordia Sisters in Edmonton, in 1951. Later, in 1981, she received her Bachelor of Nursing degree at the U of Calgary.
In her 76 years of religious life, Sister Nestor ministered as a nurse for over 40 years, in Alberta (Mundare, Willingdon, Edmonton and Calgary), in Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, Ituna and Yorkton), in Manitoba (Winnipeg and Dauphin), and in Ontario (Toronto). In Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto, she ministered concurrently with certification studies, though throughout her years, especially in the 1980’s and 1990’s, she took upgrading courses and workshops on various topics, annually. She also had an opportunity in 1987 to study Gerontology in Japan for two weeks.
Sister Nestor’s skills ran the gamut from x-ray technician to pharmacology to emergency measures planning, from general duty to training student nurses, from acute care to long-term care, from obstetrics to gerontology, from administration to pastoral care. In administrative positions, she was Director of Nursing at the Mary Immaculate Hospitals in Willingdon and Mundare, and Administrator and D.O.N. at the Ituna Union Hospital in Ituna; Assistant Administrator, and later, General Director at St. Paul’s Nursing Home in Dauphin; Nursing Supervisor at Holy Family Nursing Home in Winnipeg; Director of Care at Lakeside Home, in Wolseley, SK, and Assistant D.O.C. at St. Paul’s Lutheran Home, in Melville, SK.
Of special note was Sister Nestor’s contribution to the establishment of St. Joseph’s Home, in Saskatoon, owned and operated by the Ukrainian Sisters of St. Joseph. She worked closely with the Lay Advisory group, to plan all phases of preparation for the opening of the facility. As the St. Joseph Sisters were new to the field, Sister Nestor assumed responsibility for the training and supervision of their D.O.N., who had not yet completed her RN certification. She organized in-services to train the staff, inviting professionals from other institutions; she trained the Sister in charge of dietary, often with direct hands-on help; she worked closely with the Volunteer Director, and her volunteers, to prepare the facility for occupancy. While she was in Saskatoon, the Department of Social Services recommended her to advise the Adventist Sunset Nursing Home, also newly opened, in resident program planning, and invited her to be on a programming panel for Psychiatric Care.
In the summer months, especially in her earlier years, she was sent to teach catechism in the prairie provinces, or at camps – also acting as camp nurse. She taught at Sifton, Ethelbert, Winnipegosis, Gilbert Plains and Rorkton, in Manitoba, and at New Kiev, Camp St. Basil’s (Pigeon Lake) and Camp Oselia (Wabamun) in Alberta. She also was involved in parish. catechism in Mundare and Chipman, AB, and in Dauphin, where she organized catechism and Ukrainian programs for 250 children, grades 1-8, and several staff, herself teaching religion to grades 6-8 and Ukrainian to grades 1 and 2. While working in the hospitals, she would also catechize her younger patients, preparing them for the sacraments. One such patient, an early elementary student who spoke only Ukrainian at home, she tutored in English through his extended hospital stay, so he would not fall behind in his schooling. Later, he became Premier of Alberta, and still recalls her help with much gratitude!
Sister Nestor also prepared elderly patients to meet the Lord. Pastoral care was a great part of her ministry. She would also act as liaison to clerics of other denominations, and was invited to share her expertise with Protestant Theology students, in this special ministry.
In the SSMI Community, Sister Nestor served as Local Superior in Dauphin and in Calgary, occasionally as Vicaress (assistant superior), as sacristan, and as chronicler, in various homes. She would assist her co-sisters with youth programs and sewing projects, worked with parish organizations and prayer groups, and was part of a team of Sisters who gave workshops on health care at Providence Centre in Edmonton. As superior, she encouraged the growth and enrichment of her sisters through various workshops. She took elder Sisters on outings. She was often called upon for long-distance chauffeuring from Yorkton to Regina airport. While in Ituna, she helped with administration and correspondence, related to the orphanage; she also would help with cooking for special occasions. She was asked to translate chronicles from Ukrainian to English for the Congregation. She was also asked to write a biography of Sister Oreste Sereda, to be published in an inter-Provincial collection of biographies of notable Sisters Servants, entitled Слугині Бога, Церкви і Народу
A woman of boundless energy, Sister Nestor knew also how to appreciate a change of pace. One of the highlights of her life was a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, which was part of sabbatical studies (CREDO) at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. The trip also included five days in Italy, touring Rome, Florence and Assisi. She also took occasional trips with a friend across Canada or the USA, or attended reunions with her RN classmates. But most often, her holiday time would be spent with her parents, for whom she cared in their final years.
Sister Nestor was predeceased by her parents, Stephen and Katherine, and is survived by her sister, Daria Kyba, of Calgary, brother, Russell Kyba and his wife, Anna Marie of Wetaskiwin and their family, and her co-sisters in the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate. May Sister Nestor’s memory be eternal! Вічна їй пам’ять!