I look back on my life, I see God’s blessings following me at each
step. My childhood was
spent in a happy family on a farm in rural Ontario, just outside
Kirkfield. I was the
second oldest of nine children.
We were intrigued by the Sisters whom we saw at Sunday
mass, and who taught us our catechism.
At the beginning of high school I went to Toronto to help
my aunt, and was taught by the Toronto St. Joseph Sisters.
After a couple of years, I returned to my own family and
continued my education at St Margaret’s in Kirkfield, with the
As a sixteen year old, I attended the
Reception Ceremony of a group of new Sisters at the Motherhouse in
Peterborough. I was very impressed by the young women I saw during
the moving ceremony, during which they were dressed as ‘Brides of
Christ’ and then changed into their religious habit and began the
process of learning to live their lives as Sisters of St. Joseph.
The next September I found myself back at Mount St. Joseph
following in their footsteps!
Although I was homesick, I persevered through the early
years. As was the
custom, I took the name Sister Winifred as my religious name.
After my novitiate, I helped care for the boys at St.
Vincent Orphanage in Peterborough.
Then I returned to Kirkfield to help with the boarders at
St. Margaret’s and to finish my high school.
Next it was on to the Peterborough Normal School, which
prepared me for my first career – teaching.
I taught elementary grades throughout Ontario, and even in
a mission school in Kitimat, BC.
At St. Peter’s Intermediate School in Peterborough I became
the librarian. During
these years of teaching I also completed my Bachelor of Arts and
Bachelor of Library Science degrees by studying evenings and in
the summer. After the
Second Vatican Council, I reverted to my baptismal name, as did
many other Sisters.
After twenty-six years of teaching, I moved on to my second career
– health care administration.
I had on-the-job training at Marycrest Home For the Aged in
Peterborough, and completed a certificate program at McMaster
University in Administration of Homes For the Aged.
I then became the Administrator of Marycrest.
After fifteen years at Marycrest, I ‘retired’ and began my
third career in Lindsay.
For over twenty years I have been involved in a variety of
parish ministries at St. Mary’s Parish in Lindsay.
Even when the decision was made to close our Lindsay
convent, I stayed and moved into a seniors’ complex affiliated
with parish so I could continue my ministries. I have also had the
privilege of ministering to prisoners at the local jail. During my
third career in Lindsay, I have been fortunate to be able to have
a sabbatical and to participate in pilgrimages to LePuy, France
(where our Congregation was founded), to Rome and the Vatican, and
to the Holy Land. I
continue to blessed with good health, and although I have slowed
down a little bit as I get close to ninety years of age, I
continue to minister in the parish and the jail.
God is good!!