photo courtesy: Joe Molino
Sister Marlene Schuster is celebrated for her ministry at St. Francis de Sales Church in Smiths Falls during a special Mass on Sunday, Oct. 3.
BY CHRISTINE ROSS
A 106 year presence in Smiths Falls has come to an end. Parishioners of St. Francis de Sales Church in the Eastern Ontario community said goodbye and thank you to the Sisters of Providence during a special Mass on Sunday, Oct. 3.
The Sisters first established health care in the heart of the Rideau Canal in 1904. Over the next century, they opened schools, visited parishioners and performed many other parish ministries.
Sister Marlene Schuster, in Smiths Falls for 29 years, is the last Sister to minister there. She returned to Kingston in early October to serve as sacristran at Providence Manor.
“I once read, you never really leave a place you have grown to love; but leave a part of yourself in thatplace, and take a part of it with you,” Sr. Marlene told parishioners.
“May God bless all of us as we journey in faith and love, may we continue to grow in holiness. Working together in faith and trust in God, this parish will be stronger and more vibrant. God bless you all.”
In her address to parishioners, General Superior Sister Pauline Lally said the Sisters and the community need to accept this finite disappointment with infinite hope and reminded parishioners that all their gifts are needed now.
“For the Providence Presence does not leave Smiths Falls. How could it? 203 Sisters sharing their individual giftedness in 106 years of service surely left something of our spirit and charism here,” said Sr. Pauline.
She went on to encourage the community to “Be Providence now for one another and our world.
Know that your destiny will not be written for you but with God’s help, by you.”