Thirty-two Sisters of the Holy Cross participate in Falher’s centennial celebrations

A nun holding the commemorative plaque presented to the Sisters of the Holy Cross by St. Anne’s Parish Falher.

Tom Henihan
Express Staff

During Falher’s 100 anniversary celebrations, a special Mass took place at St. Anne’s Parish Church on Sunday June 16, in honour of thirty-two visiting Sisters of the Holy Cross.

The Sisters of the Holy Cross travelled from countries around the world to help celebrate Falher’s centenary, 1919 – 2019.

The nuns, representing the leadership of the Sisters of the Holy Cross around the world, including South America, Africa, Haiti, Vietnam, the U.S. and various parts of Canada including the Order’s motherhouse in Montreal.

There are only two Holy Cross Sisters, Sr. Edith and Sr. Pauline, now resident in Falher but the order holds a important place in the development of the region beginning in 1920, with the establishment of a convent in Donnelly in 1928, Grande Prairie in 1929 and a boarding school in Falher in 1929.

At the special Mass said by Archbishop Pettipas and co-celebrated by Monsignor Charles Lavoie and Fr. Jean Nkuanga, and with a Knights of Columbus Honour Guard, the Sisters of the Holy Cross renewed their religious vows and at that time in the Mass sung the Order’s signature song, “Magnificat” or Mary’s Song.

The Sisters also sang “Magnificat” at the opening of the 100 Anniversary Celebrations at the Knights of Columbus Hall, Friday June 14.

The Knights of Columbus provide an Honour Guard at the June 16 Mass.

The thirty-two Holy Cross sisters made their trip to the north a pilgrimage, stopping in small parishes and communities where the Sisters of the Holy Cross worked as the Order had a strong presence across the north.

At each one of these communities, if the convent was still standing the sisters would pray before it, and if not they would go to the local church to pray and pronounce aloud the names of the nuns that worked in each particular parish.

St. Anne’s Parish presented the Sisters of the Holy Cross delegation with a plaque depicting the figure of an angel and with the inscription: L’hommage aux soeurs de la Croix Sainte: One hundred years of service, June 2019, Falher Alberta.

The Town of Falher also presented the nuns with a complete volume set of the History of Falher, a history in which the Sisters of the Holy Cross play a seminal role.

Following Mass, a lunch reception took place in St. Anne’s Church basement at which Archbishop Peppitas said grace, welcomed the Sisters and reiterated his thanks for the work the nuns have done in the region. After lunch, the nuns boarded their bus around 2pm for the return trip to Edmonton, before flying home to their respective countries.

One of the principal organizers of the Sisters of the Holy Cross visit, Diane Gervais, said the success of the occasion was due to numerous volunteers and that in organizing the event she was impressed with the willingness of people in the community to contribute and lend a hand in a myriad of ways.

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