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Ministry in the Northwest Territories was initiated by the Felician Sisters of the former Holy Name of Mary Province in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. For over 30 years, the Felician Sisters have served in the tiny village of Tulita, located in the far north of Canada. The Felician Sisters have worked to rebuild the native sense of community, bringing God to the people while respecting their ancestral heritage and deep commitment to the earth.
Currently one Sister ministers in Tulita. She frequently presides over funerals, baptisms, weddings and provides various other services to the people. The Sister Celeste Child Development Centre is a focal point of the community.
In 2011 another Felician Sister came to the Northwest Territories. This ministry in Yellowknife is one of evangelization through presence. The actual work involves being the executive secretary to the Bishop. Since the Sister assumed some of the administrative work, the Bishop was able to be more available to the people of the north.
In all instances, being present to the people at the Centre or at the Diocesan Office provides opportunities for interaction and being Eucharist to all.
S. Anna Maria Zabieglik
In 1982, one of the Kenyan bishops, Rt. Rev. Silas S. Njiru, met Blessed Pope John Paul II, and told him he was going to Poland to ask for missionaries. Blessed Pope John Paul II suggested he visit Warsaw.
In Warsaw, Bishop Njiru requested one of the Polish bishops to take him to the Franciscan Congregation. He was taken to our provincial house in Warsaw. Sister M. Angelika, the provincial at that time, took this visit as a sign of the times, and together with Sister M. Amadeus, the Superior General, went to Kenya to check the possibilities. The decision was made that five Sisters, chosen from those who had a desire to work there, would go to Kenya.
After some preparation and a language course,these sisters landed in Kenya on May 1, 1983. At first they stayed in a mission in Kyeni in the Meru Diocese, working in a hospital and schools.
About four years later, the Meru Diocese was divided and the new Embu Diocese was created. When Bishop Njiru visited the sisters, he said, “I wanted you in Meru diocese!” (He lost us in the creation of the new diocese.)
As a result, at the end of 1987, two sisters went to the Matiri mission in the Meru Diocese. One of them was Sister M. Elvine Dymnicki from the former Lodi province. The new mission was a very dry, hot and poor place. Sister M. Elvine stayed there for many years until poor health forced her to retire.
Today, the Felician Sisters in Kenya have 10 communities with about 60 sisters.
Archbishop Charles Balvo, center, a native New Yorker who is now apostolic nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan, joins a community of Felician Sisters at their residence in Embu, Kenya.
(Catholic New York January 23, 2014)