Thanksgiving celebration for Sr. M. Benilda

Thanksgiving celebration for Sr. Mary Benilda in the west.
left to right: Sisters Diane Brennen, Elaine Jacob, Mary Bernadette, Patricia Amyot, Mary Benilda, Jeannette Filthaut, Rita Gleason

Sr. Mary Benilda is settling into her new surroundings in Kingston after retiring from ministry work in pastoral care and as a hospital purchasing agent in the west.

On June 25, seventy five guests attended a very special Mass of Thanksgiving in Edmonton presided over by Archbishop Joseph MacNeil. The celebration was part of Sister Mary Benilda’s retirement from St. Joseph’s Auxiliary Hospital after 45 years of employment.

As a member of St. Joseph’s founding order, the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul, Sister Benilda came to Edmonton from Winnipeg in 1964. Sister’s first work at the hospital was as the purchasing officer; she retired as part of the spiritual and religious care team with responsibilities for the palliative care unit.

Over her 45 years of service, she saw tremendous change in the hospital. From the days when purchasing was done with a pencil and paper to today, where a computer glitch can make everyone’s day difficult — Sister Benilda was a constant reminder of the history and sense of mission that the Sisters of Providence envisioned when they opened St. Joseph’s. She was also present when the hospital was transferred from the Sisters to the St. Joseph’s Board of Directors and then again recently to Covenant Health.

In a letter, St. Joseph’s executive Director Marilyn Snow writes, “Sister, you have a quiet and gentle manner that is evident in your ministry to others. You are wise and prayerful in your responses to questions, in presence of tears and laughter, and in the face of anger, fear or joy. You inquire of the Lord and you wait upon Him so that you might be an instrument of His peace. You will be missed and always remembered”

Sister Mary Benilda quietly went about her work with wisdom, grace and humility. She will be greatly missed by her co-workers and the entire St. Joseph’s community.

After taking some time to visit family and pack, Sister Benilda left Edmonton and was welcomed by all at Providence Motherhouse at the end of July.