Sister Mary of Providence
"A woman's influence is not limited,
life will be mostly what women truly wish it to be."
Immigrant, Labourer, Missioner.
A lifetime and a legacy of hope
1914-15 Star, Military Cross 1916 & 1945 Distinguished Service Order
Georges and Pauline Vanier
Willie McKenna was born in Emyvale County Monaghan Ireland on the 17th April 1933. He was born into a farming family of two sons (brother Sean) and two daughters (sisters Eileen and Mary). It is no surprise that he formed a long ad lasting relationship with the people of Prince Edward Island in Canada – many of whose ancestors had emigrated from this very part of Monaghan and became involved in Agriculture in the Province.Former Monaghan county councillor
A Community Activist, Willie McKenna was deeply involved from an early age in his local community and later at County and National level. In his early twenty he was elected to public office and served at the highest level In his native County for the following Thirty Years.
When approached by Tommy Makem, one of Ireland’s greatest musical entertainer on behalf of the P.E.I. representatives with a view to a twinning arrangement with County Monaghan, Willie wholeheartedly pursued this proposal. In the early days he suffered criticism and some expressed their utter disapproval of this ‘waste of money., but that did not deter him. He could foresee the benefits and the outcomes if the link was developed and so it proved as Monaghan has gained economically from the tourists who have visited from PEI But PEI was not the only Canadian connection. He soon learned that there were Irish descendants In New Brunswick and that link was developed. Then the link spread to Peterboro, Ontario, and coach loads of tourists visited Ireland from there too .
Willie became a true Ambassador between the people of Monaghan and Prince Edward Island and visited the Irish Community in P.E.I. 19 times since 1990.. His ability to make contacts, coupled with his genuine interest to associate with Government Officials and residents of the community in P.E.I. made him an icon in hundreds of Canadian homes.
Willie died on Friday 26th Sept. 2014. His wife, Nancy, has kindly shared some of his story though it was said at Willie’s Funeral, "It would take a very big volume of a book to capture the essence of Willie McKenna and cover all aspects of his life"
The Venerable Mother Catherine McAuley
Founder, The Sisters of Mercy
Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Currie - World War I The first and only Canadian soldier to occupy the post, Currie proved an excellent corps commander. His demand for more preparation prior to major assaults saved Allied lives and prospects for success. Under his leadership, Canadians cemented their reputation with an unbroken string of major victories in 1917-1918 including Hill 70, Passchendaele, Amiens, Arras, and the Canal du Nord.
Many people hope to leave a legacy when they retire, but few can say they've left a legacy of hope. An Irish immigrant, Maurice McElrea, has done just that.
Maurice is recognized throughout Metro Vancouver as a man who has made a tremendous difference in Canada’s poorest postal code - Vancouver’s Downtown East-side. In 28 years with United Gospel Mission he has brought hope for some of the most desperate men, women, youth and children. Born in County Derry, where his mother chose to have her children, Maurice was moved home to County Tyrone where he spent his youth. At the age of 18 he emigrated to Canada. “I believed that there was gold in Canada’s streets,” he recalled, “but I was soon to find that I was in the streets and there was very little gold.” Maurice’s first contact with Union Gospel Mission was as a young, hungry new immigrant walking through its doors for a bowl of soup. It would change his life.
Having experienced the absolute desperation of loneliness and hunger, Maurice knew that a single act of kindness could be the first step in a person regaining dignity and going on to change his life. He’d joke that he went from ‘soup to superintendent’. In 1980, after 20 years working in the plywood and paper industries, he took over the leadership of UGM with a vision of hope. The organization expanded exponentially to meet the growing need for its services. He realized that men & women coming through the doors for a meal might learn about alcohol & drug recovery, affordable housing and education and be on the first step to changing their lives.
The Mission, run by a staff of 3 working out of condemned building reached out to the community serving 15,000 meals a year and providing 13 beds for the homeless. Under Maurice’s leadership, UGM expanded to 12 locations in Metro Vancouver and the city of Mission, serving over 256,000 meals a year; offering alcohol and drug recovery programs, youth and education programs; expanded services for women and children; and subsidized housing in partnership with the government.
Maurice’s work can only be understood by hearing some of the stories of the people whose lives have been profoundly changed.
A program close to Maurice’s heart is UGM’s camp program. Each year, the Mission helps send over 650 children in need to a week of quality summer camp. For many children living in poverty or difficult family situations, this week is the highlight of their year. More importantly, at camp they can receive new direction for their lives and make positive memories that stay with them no matter what the future holds.
His work has focused on affecting community change by affecting individual lives. A group of children living in a housing complex near UGM’s Headquarters on the Downtown East-side, lived within a tension that prevented them playing with each other and parents couldn’t rely on one another as neighbours As they attended UGM’s children’s programs and were sponsored to attend a week of summer camp, Maurice recalls with a smile,the group had an amazing week at camp and they grew to enjoy each other's company. Returning home it was the children who built an inclusive community: of families looking out for one another and enjoying the joy and safety of their community.
During Maurice’s years at UGM, hundreds of men and women have graduated from the Alcohol & Drug Recovery Programme. Many have gone on to the security of UGM’s continuum of care and services - clean, safe, affordable, sober housing at Union Gospel Housing’s Maurice McElrea Place; work towards their General Educational Development (GED); gain employment skills; and start living productive lives. Many even come on to work at UGM, giving back to the organization and the community from which they came.
For Maurice, poverty isn’t a political issue; it’s a systemic problem and a human issue. He was always interested in working with other community organizations, and all branches of government towards long-term solutions to poverty, homelessness and addiction. His has been a voice that made known the needs of the homeless and those who otherwise might be invisible and broke through the red-tape of bureaucracy that would politicize the issue of poverty. Believing strongly that charities should not be mandated to have government directly involved in the running of their organizations, Maurice successfully challenge proposed legislation that would have seriously hampered the ability of charities to offer services without government interference. He was instrumental in bringing about change, helping to ensure that charities could continue to offer the kinds of services that government can’t. UGM is a donor-funded organization that does not receive government monies to provide any of its services with the exception of the housing component for the Alcohol and Drug Recovery Program. At UGM alone, over 256,000 meals were served to hungry men, women, youth and children last year, and over 28,000 nights of safe shelter were provided. Government now recognizes these services as much needed and indeed valuable, and this is largely thanks to Maurice’s willingness to stand up for those who may not be given the platform to do so themselves. McElrea retired from his position as the president of the Union Gospel Mission, after 28 years of service. He is now the president emeritus Thanks to Lorene Vernon of Union Gospel Mission Vancouver for assistance .4
Maurice and his wife Lois walk along the Steveston boardwalk
Honorary Colonel Patrick L Reid, OC, MC, CD
Officer of the Order of Canada (OC), decorated with the Military Cross (MC) for bravery in Italy in 1944 while serving with the North Irish Horse, awarded the Canadian Forces Decoration (CD) for meritorious long service in the Canadian Forces.
Former Councillor on Monaghan County Council and Monaghan Town Council.
Willie “The Hill” McKenna, was the cement that bonded ties between his native Co Monaghan and Prince Edward Island “True Prince Edward Island Ambassador”. (The Guardian)
On April 3, 1849, in the agony of Ireland’s Great Hunger, about two hundred emigrants went aboard the Hannah, bound for Quebec from Newry. They were mostly agricultural labourers with their wives and children from rural districts nearby Newry
The passage went forward until they encountered masses of ice floats and whipping winds. Dawn on the 29th, the ship struck a reef of ice that tore the ship’s bottom apart and wakened the emigrants into chaos. It is hard to believe, but true, that no steps were taken to secure the emigrants and seamen – the master and officers boarded the only life-boat abandoning the wreck and all thereon. Desperate to find safety many struggled to get onto the firm ice under the ship’s bows as it slipped deep into the icy waters. The seamen left behind with the emigrants gave up what coverings they had to the women and children remaining with a few of the men.
They’d say a surprising answer to prayer appeared – the barque Nicarague.
After hours of labour, Captain Marshall and his crew succeeded in getting hold of about fifty of the poor creatures out of the water and ice. 129 passengers and seamen were placed safely on-board the Nicarague. Among them were John and Mary (nee McParland) Murphy from Forkhill Parish in County Down who had left Ireland from Warrenpoint County Down.
Every comfort possible was provided and, over the next few days, for comfort and space, 49 of the survivors were transferred to three more vessels on the way.
On May 14, the surviving passengers arrived at Quebec were destitute and almost naked. Benevolent gestures provided a sum of [£]50 and clothing collected from many charitable souls. So they were enabled to proceed free, each with a small supply, the passage levy was repaid to the survivors.
The Murphy’s story has been told, generation to generation. Many courageous survivors settled in the town of Westport, near Ottawa.
John & Mary Murphy
Survivors of the Hannah
Visual - artist's concept
Born Sept. 29, 1778, in Dublin. Catherine’s parents died when she was 10. She and her brother James moved to
live with relatives. In 1803 Catherine became household
manager and companion to the Callaghans, an elderly,
childless and wealthy Quaker couple who were distant relatives of her late mother. She remained in their home and their estate in Coolock for 20 years. The Callaghans supported her charitable work as she taught home servants and village children and trained young women to do needlework they could sell in a small shop that she ran for them. When the Callaghans died, in1822, McAuley was sole heir to their estate. She invested her inheritance in a Baggot Street property and on the feast of Our Lady of Mercy, 24 September 1827, the new institution for destitute women, orphans, and schools for the poor was opened and McAuley, with two companions, undertook its management. It led to her founding The Sisters of Mercy. Catherine didn’t set out to found a religious community. The distinctive black dress and cape was chosen to identity themselves as visitors to the sick. Asked to choose name by which the little community might be known, she chose "Sisters of Mercy" as mercy was their purpose though they were not bound by rules. Concerns were raised about stability and assured continuity of the works they had taken on. Urged to form a religious institute, Catherine and two of her co-workers entered a programme to formally prepare for life as the Sisters of Mercy. Their founding day was 12.12.1831.
The newly founded order would be quickly put to the test as, in 1832, there was a cholera outbreak in Dublin. The Sisters of Mercy agreed to staff a cholera hospital.
Sr Mary Catherine died of tuberculosis only ten years after the founding of the order. At the time of her death, November 1841, there were 150 Sisters of Mercy. Six months later, on June 3, 1842, responding to Archbishop Fleming’s invitation, Sisters Francis Creedon, Ursula Frayne and Rose Lynch arrived at Newfoundland to make a new beginning as the first Irish settlers/adventurers had done 500 years earlier. It was the first Mercy foundation formed outside the British Isles.
Today women inspired by Catherine McAuley’s vision carry out Mercy ministry in Newfoundland & Labrador, across Canada and in Peru in a variety of ways. They make a commitment to alleviate injustice and to reach out in compassion and service to the poor and oppressed, especially women through their continued presence to the sick, elderly, poor, and marginalized, and through sponsorship and contributions to numerous pprojects throughout the wider global community.
In recognition of her heroic virtues, Pope John Paul II declared Catherine McAuley/Sr Mary Catherine, The Venerable Mother Catherine Elizabeth McAuley
1999 C Series £5 CENTRAL
BANK OF IRELAND
5 Punt Note Type 3 2
Harold Robert (Bob) White
Founding president of the Canadian Auto Workers union
Officer of the Order of Canada in 1990
He was granted honorary doctor of laws degrees from
York University, University of Toronto, University of Windsor, and the University of Western Ontario
and St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S.
Harold Robert (Bob) White was born in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland in 1935 and came to Canada in 1949 with his family, settling in Woodstock, Ont. He was 15 years of age when he began working in a wood-working plant. He joined the United Auto Workers union in 1951 and, by 1959, had become president of the United Automobile Workers Local 636. He was appointed UAW international representative, and in 1964 coordinator of organizing staff.
In 1972, he became assistant to UAW director Dennis McDermott. He travelled across Canada to mobilize protests against the federal wage-control program. In 1984, he led the UAW opposition to corporate demands for wage concessions and negotiated a new contract with General Motors, a process documented in Robert Collinson & Sturla Gunnarsson’s Genie Award-winning film Final Offer (1985).
In December 1984, with White at the helm, Canadian UAW members split from their U.S.-based parent union and formed the CAW. That split, and White's efforts to secure a better contract for his Canadian union members, were chronicled in the 1985 National Film Board documentary Final Offer. White was elected president of CAW in 1985, and re-elected in 1988 and 1991.
In 1992, White was elected president of the the trade union umbrella group the Canadian Labour Congress. He was re-elected for two subsequent terms before retiring in 1999. He was also the first Canadian president of the OECD's trade union advisory committee.
Firmly believing that the Canadian wing of the UAW should act primarily in the interest of its 120,000 Canadian workers, White led the Canadian members in a strike and eventually a secession movement from the American UAW, forming the Canadian Auto Workers union. White left the CAW in 1992 when he was elected president of the Canadian Labour Congress. He was re-elected in 1994 and 1996 and retired in 1999. White served as president of the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and was the chair of the Commonwealth Trade Union Council and of the Human and Trade Union Rights Committee of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. He was also VP of the New Democratic Party.
Harold Robert (“Bob”) White, O.C. passed away peacefully in Kincardine, Ontario on February 19, 2017. Survived by his wife Marilyne, their children Todd, Shawn and Robyn (Michael); three grandchildren Jordan, Taylor and Landon
Bob, respectfully regarded by many as a
'true maverick' also leaves countless friends, people
and generations to come who will be thankful for the
legacy he leaves: a stronger and more equitable Canada.
Bob, left, founding president of the Canadian
Auto Workers Union and Buzz Horgrove, rt.,
who would succeed him,.
Nursng Sister Henrietta (Hetty) Mellett Killed in Action WWI
Hetty was born in October 1883, the daughter of
John and Elizabeth (Conway) Mellett who ran
The Ivy House Guesthouse in Roundstone Galway. In 1908 Hetty boarded the Empress of Britain with her sister Susan, Susan's husband the Rev. Richard Bowen, and their son on their way back to Canada. There Hetty settled with them in London, Ontario.
At the outbreak of WWI and with ‘prior experience’ Hetty enlisted into the Canadian Army Medical Corps (#15 General Hospital) at London, Ont. on January 22, 1918. She served in Europe and it was on October 10, 1918, that Nursing Sister Henrietta Mellett was Killed in Action – drowned in the sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster, torpedoed by UB-123 off the coast of Ireland.
On May 29, 1920, in the wide corridor just outside the Legislative Chamber of the Parliament Buildings, Toronto, the memorial tablet to the memory of the nurses of the Ontario Military Hospital, Orpington, Kent, England, who gave their lives during the war, was unveiled by the R.R.C. Matron-in-Chief of the Canadian overseas military forces. Nursing Sister Henrietta Mellett was one of the 48 names read out and recorded on the British Nursing Journal Roll of Honour.
With family and community gathered for a Church of England service, Hetty's was laid to rest now with her brother and sister, in the Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin (Plot 410.A62.) the Commonwealth War Graves Commission marker at her grave.
The Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC) included a small permanent nursing service. Only women were eligible to serve as military nurses. The army created a special officer rank for nurses, with the relative rank of lieutenant and title of “nursing sister.” Appointment to the CAMC nursing service required women to have British citizenship, to have graduated from a recognized three-year nursing program, as well as possess high moral character, dignified deportment, physical fitness, and be between the ages of 21 and 38. There were 2,845 Canadian nursing sisters who served with the CAMC during the First World War – both overseas and in Canada. Of the Canadian nurses who served overseas, 53 were killed from enemy fire, disease, or drowning during the war. They had won the affection of thousands of Canadian soldiers who often referred to them as “Sisters of Mercy” or “Angels of Mercy.” A memorial to the war’s nursing sisters was erected in Ottawa in 1926 in the Parliament of Canada’s Hall of Honour.
Survivors of the Hannah Out of the Great Hunger
Patrick Cyril 'Sid' Ryan
In 1992 Ryan was awarded the 125 Anniversary of
the Confederation of Canada Medal in recognition
of ‘making a significant contribution’ to fellow citizens, community and Canada.
Born in West Limerick, Ireland, May 2, 1934,Thomas
was raised in Pallas, Kilmeedy. He arrived in Canada,
in 1952, then went back to Ireland to marry and return in 1962 with his beloved Irish bride, Elizabeth Mary (n O'Keeffe) to raise four delightful children together. Tom was an active in his community encouraging participation with the Gaelic Athletic Association in Vancouver, a proponent of Ireland‘s games of Gaelic Football and Hurling being shared and played by all to enjoy. He also contributed to the betterment and welfare of those less fortunate through his leadership in the St. Vincent de Paul Society of British Columbia, the Yukon and throughout Canada for over 45 years . His Apostolic work with the St. Vincent dePaul Society was legendary. When his beloved wife, Elizabeth Mary died in 1995, Tom turned to the community, giving and receiving support,. He enjoyed his social involvement with the St. Paul's Singles Club for many years. A life-long member of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association of the Sacred Heart, and Honorary President of the Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club (Gaelic Athletic Association). Tom always offered a warm and generous welcome to friends & family and engaged with benevolent spirit in all his chosen causes. He was warm and welcoming and loved by all who met him.
Thomas O'Flynn passed away peacefully, with a smile on his face, after a purpose-filled and wonderful life, on July 19, 2017 in Vancouver, at the age of 83.
James Collins was born c. 1824 in County Cork, the eldest of four children- the only son - of Patrick Collins and Isabella Hughes.
He immigrated with his family uin 1837 to Saint John. As a youth he apprenticed under Dr George R. Peters, a prominent Saint John physician and superintendent of the Asylum. Peters fostered his interest in medicine and assisted Collins in pursuing medical studies, which he undertook in Paris ca 1844 and later in London. He returned to St. John in 1846 and married Mary Quinn, they had one daughter. That August he began his practice from the family’s residence on Mill Street, York Point.
He'd been in practice only a few months when, in the midst of the Great Hunger emigration, a typhus epidemic broke out. The health officer in charge, Dr George J. Harding, could no longer handle his responsibilities alone and sought help. In spite of the risk Harding’s brother William and Collins went to the quarantine station as medical assistants. Collin’s brothers-in-law, James and Edmond Quin, both of whom were priests also worked among the immigrants. In less than a month Collins fell victim to the typhus and on July 2nd he died. Because of the danger from contagion, his body was sealed in a lead coffin for burial in St. John. More than 4,000 people formed the funeral procession. Several years later Collins’s body was moved to St Peter’s burial ground (near Fort Howe) and in 1949 it was placed in a common grave in St Joseph’s cemetery. A Celtic cross on Partridge Island and a half-scale replica of it on the mainland commemorate his “devotion and sacrifice” and preserve the memory of more than 2,000 Irish immigrants who died during the typhus epidemic of 1847.
Neither the money Collins’s father earned as a grocer nor that made by Collins during his brief medical career appears to have been enough to support his widow and his posthumous child. In 1847 the New Brunswick legislature justly acknowledged his work at the quarantine station by granting £50 to his estate, and from 1848 to 1855 it gave an additional £205 to his widow, in answer to her petitions for support.
Rev. Father Raymond Myles Hickey
Monsignor. Major. Author.
Acclaimed as “a Canadian who inspires the world” (Maclean's) and a “nation builder” (Globe and Mail) Jean Vanier is founder of L’Arche, an international network of communities where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together as peers.
Born 1928 in Geneva Switzerland, while his father was on diplomatic service for the Canadian government, he is the son of Georges, whose mother was Irish, and Pauline Vanier. Educated in England during WWII and in Canada, Jean grew up speaking both French and English. At just 13, during the most difficult period of World War II, he persuaded his father to permit him to enter England's Royal Naval Academy. He served the British and then the Royal Canadian Navy. In 1950, looking for deeper meaning in his life, he resigned his naval commission and taught philosophy at the University of Toronto. He began a period of spiritual search working on his PhD at the Institut Catholique in Paris. His 2001 book, Made for Happiness: Discovering the Meaning of Life with Aristotle, was based on his doctoral dissertation. He taught at the University of Toronto, then returned to France. Distressed by the plight of people he met with developmental disabilities, in 1964, he welcomed two men from an institution to live with him in a small village home he called “L'Arche” (Noah's ark) .
What he discovered at L’Arche is that people society typically considers of least value, are the ones who enable the strong to recognize and welcome their own vulnerability and so to grow in their humanity. L'Arche grew quickly and Jean began traveling and speaking about his own life-changing experience
Five years later, the first Canadian community, L’Arche Daybreak, was founded in Richmond Hill, Ontario. There are 130 L'Arche communities in 30 countries. In Ireland there are L’Arche communities in Dublin, Belfast, Kilkenny and Cork. There are 29 L’Arche communities across Canada’s provinces, from St. John to Greater Vancouver.
In 1972, Vanier co-founded Faith and Light, now a world-wide network supporting families with members who have an intellectual disability.
Now 86, Jean Vanier is recipient of many honours and awards recognizing his work and leadership as a social visionary including the Companion of the Order of Canada, Legion of Honour (France), Pope Paul VI International Prize, the International Peace Award (Community of Christ), Rabbi Gunther Plaut Humanitarian Award and the Gaudium et Spes Award.
In 2015 Jean Vanier was awarded the Templeton Prize at a ceremony at St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square London. The award valued at about $1.6 million CAD - one of the world's largest annual awards given to a living person who has made exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works. Former recipients include Mother Teresa, Solzhenitsyn, the Dalai Lama, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Ireland Canada Heroes
Sir Arthur Currie unveils the Memorial erected by the Canadian Artillery in memory of Artillerymen who fell fell during the taking of Vimy Ridge, February, 1918.
The Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement were started in the late 1880’s in New York. They arrived in Vancouver in 1926 at the request of Katie OMelia, the daughter of Anglican missionaries in Japan. OMelia was in Vancouver providing daycare, English classes and religious education to residents of the former Japantown near Oppenheimer Park. The Sisters expanded OMelia’s work until 1941, when Japan entered WWII.
The work was not abandoned. Some of the nuns, including Kelliher’s older sibling, accompanied Japanese-Canadian citizens to the internment camp where, in the once-abandoned mining town of Greenwood, they established an elementary school and a commercial high school where classes included typing. A resident of Kitsilano, who was three years old when she was evacuated from Steveston to Greenwood, said it was her happiest days when, at 12 years of age, she was singing Latin hymns and learning to play the piano.
Picking up their mission again in post-war Vancouver it was surprising to find that the hunger and needs had increased. For decades the Sisters have provided a free-of-charge clothing centre for men in need of warm clothing or back-to-work outfits (including shoes and boots) housewares and alcohol and drug abuse counseling. There was always food, emergency food hampers when needed, and meals: free lunch (incl. sandwiches, hot soup and dessert), sit-down suppers on the Third Sunday of each month plus Easter and Christmas, and fresh fish Friday mornings. For decades they have served food to an average 500 people, mostly middle-aged men, five days a week. Proselytizing has never been on the menu.
Kelliher was an outspoken advocate for peace, justice and affordable housing. She worked with Stop War, World Views Collaborative, the Metro Vancouver Alliance which unifies churches, temples and synagogues, unions and community organizations to express shared concerns to elected officials. She also worked with the Urban Core Community Workers Association stressing the need for housing for low-income families and elderly people, highlighting the problem of human trafficking and forced prostitution, the urgent need to care for the earth, air and water and people in less developed countries who are mistreated by corporations.
For 85 years the Sisters adapted their services as needs changed. The four remaining nuns departed when there were too few of their Order to replace them. Society has changed, employment opportunities for women opened up. One thing hasn’t changed in the 23 years Kelliher was in Vancouver – she had not seen situations for poor, marginalized people improve. 87-year-old Kelliher believed that Franciscans are to always be of service, particularly to the poor, and to spread the good news of God's love to all – unity and peace with justice. When the Vancouver mission could no longer be sustained she moved to Edmonton to work at a women’s shelter – the Sisters’ last Canadian mission. In 2012, she moved back to the mother-house and died there surrounded by her community.
There is good news: the Missionaries of Charity, an order established by Mother Teresa of Calcutta, will move into the convent.
Dr. James Patrick Collins
Assistant at Grosse Isle Quarantine Station.
General The Right Honourable George Vanier
Mary Ellen Tucker / Sister Mary of Providence born in County Sligo, Ireland, October 2, 1836, enjoyed a privileged upbringing. She was educated by the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary.
The death of her mother and a family financial disaster resulted in the family immigrating to Montreal, Quebec. Blessed Mother Marie Anne Blondin, Foundress of the Sisters of St. Anne, personally recruited her to the Congregation and she entered the Novitiate at Vaudreuil in 1851 and took her vows two years later.
Sister Mary Providence was twenty three years old when she arrived in Victoria, British Columbia on 26 October 1859. Her desire to use her talents for the welfare of others enabled her to guide the young Institute during the formative years of this mission. For forty five years, Sister Mary Providence devoted herself to the advancement of education, health care and charity in the Pacific Northwest. Her exceptional finesse and governance style kept her in key leadership roles for the majority of these years. During this time, a number of charitable establishments came into existence; schools, boarding schools, orphanages and a hospital.
She was recognized for her love of the poor and especially the orphans who always claimed her special attention. She was present and attentive to each but particularly the Sisters who were sick or dying and those serving in remote missions. As a leader she was appreciated as a woman filled with joy and compassion. Her vision of education was based on the formation of a strong character. She would say, “A woman’s influence is not limited; life will be mostly what women truly wish it to be.”
Despite leading a virtually semi-cloistered life, Sister Mary Providence was a shrewd businesswoman, whose advice was sought by leading citizens of Victoria. She accomplished so much both within and outside her religious community that it was said: “the consensus of the public is that this nun, who seldom left the convent grounds, exerted a far-reaching and beneficent influence which distinguished her as the greatest woman of the time in British Columbia.”
Her passing on 29 May 1904 after 50 years of religious life was deeply felt throughout her Community and the countless people whose lives she touched.
A high-profile news-maker, columnist, commentator and sought-after public speaker. Ryan is often called on to lend his expertise on the international front: He was invited by human rights groups to act as a Canadian peace observer in Northern Ireland; to march alongside United Farm Workers of America in California; as an organizer for a health care worker exchange between North America and over a dozen countries in South America. In 2007, Sid Ryan was awarded the Canadian Arab Federation's Social Justice Award at their 40th anniversary dinner in Toronto. He participates in numerous international labour and peace conferences. He is a strong defender of the rights of Palestinian people for a homeland and the safety, security and human rights of Indigenous people and workers.
Sir Arthur, or old “Guts and Gaiters” as he was known to the
troops, was a humble farm boy from Strathroy, Ont. Born
5 December 1875 at Napperton in Ontario. His father was
William Garner Currie, son of John Currie (the name changed from Corrigan) and Jane Garner, from Killala, Co. Mayo, Ireland. They came to Adelaide township, Canad., in 1837. Arthur was educated in a one-room schoolhouse and penniless. He moved to teach in B.C. His future changed when he joined the militia and, bootstrapping his way up from the lowest ranks, became one of the finest Allied commanders on the Western Front. He and his Canadians pushed the Germans off Vimy Ridge, when nobody else could, and pushed the Germans out of Mons during the end days of the war. And he didn’t march his troops straight into the German machine guns, but had them attack in small groups, fighting to bite and hold ground, under the cover of creeping artillery barrages. His slogan was to “pay the price of victory in shells — not lives” It was the birth of Canada's national identity.
His name was made and, following his conduct as GOC 2nd (Canadian) Brigade during 1914-15, notably during the first German gas attack at Second Ypres, he was handed charge of 1st (Canadian) Division during 1915-16. Again impressing with his sure-footed command and meticulous attention to detail, Currie was promoted GOC Canadian Corps with the elevation of Sir Julian Byng to command of Third Army in June 1917. He was the first Canadian to be promoted to General rank during the war.
More an army than a corps, the Canadians enjoyed an unbroken run of success during Third Ypres and the so-called ‘Hundred Days’ in 1918. Increasingly the Canadians were at the forefront of the BEF’s efforts. Largely responsible for the planning and execution of the successful assault against Vimy Ridge, Currie remained vocal (and successful) in arguing for the retention of the Canadians as a single coherent fighting force. Convinced in the importance of artillery in modern trench warfare, he utilized it with impressive success.
Knighted in 1917 by King George V, Currie received various honours, including Commander of the Bath, Legion of Honour, Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, Croix de Guerre, and U.S. Distinguished Service Medal. Following the war Currie served as inspector general of the Canadian militia and, from 1920 as Principal and Vice Chancellor of McGill University until his
his death 30 Nov.1933. He was survived by
his wife Lucy, their son and daughter.
Georges Phileas Vanier was born in Montreal in 1888, to an Irish mother and French Norman father. He attended Loyala College and received his Bachelor of Arts in church and devotional fellowship. He went on to earn his Bachelor of Laws in 1911, from the Montreal campus of the Université Laval. Georges was called to the Quebec bar that year and he was also considering the priesthood, but the First World War broke out. Certain that his immediate duty was to Canada, Georges took a leading role in recruiting the Royal 22nd Regiment (the first battalion of French Canadians and known as Van Doos). He lost his right leg to a German shell but refused evacuation, insisting, “I simply cannot go back to Canada while my comrades are still in the trenches in France.” Twice decorated for bravery. Following the war he was made commanding officer of the Van Doos and met like-minded and vivacious Pauline Archer who had applied to join the army, was unsuccessful and secretly enrolled in a nursing course to serve at a military convalescent hospital. They married in 1921.
In 1927, Vanier (lieutenant colonel) was sent to Geneva as a Canadian military advisor to the League of Nations disarmament. He addressed the League: “I ask you to open your eyes to human suffering, to direct your hearts to those who have not the strength to ask for help. Let us go to them. They have already been waiting too long.” In 1931 he was posted to the Canadian High Commission in London. They moved to the Canadian Embassy in Paris In 1939. In 1940, with the Germans were overrunning France, Georges insisted Pauline take their five children to London. Enroute a German aircraft crashed just ahead of her car. She leapt out, hoping to drive the pilot to safety, but he had died in the crash. The family was reunited in Britain and, when Paris was liberated in1944, Georges was the first accredited diplomat to arrive. Paris was considered too dangerous for women civilians so Pauline persuaded the Cdn. Red Cross to allow her to be their representative. Retired from diplomatic service in 1954 and returning to Canada, Georges hoped that he might continue to serve his country in “some modest capacity.” In 1959 he was appointed Canada’s Governor General - the first Quebec
native so honoured. In his new role they visited every province, rediscovering their country, their presence and George's words deeply touchied hearts and consciences. Georges Vanier’s last
official engagement was to address a delegation of students
from the University of Montreal. From his wheelchair he spoke
passionately about the importance of Canadian unity:
Georges and Pauline Vanier created the Vanier Institute of the Family in 1965. Pauline was appointed the Chancellor of the University of Ottawa in 1966. The following year she was the first non-political woman to be appointed to the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and she was made one of the first Companions of the Order of Canada for her humanitarian work.
March 4, 1967, set to watch a Montreal Canadiens game on TV, Georges had a telephone conversation with his Prime Minister, about his future. On March 5th, after receiving Holy Communion in the chapel, the Governor General died. A state funeral was held at Notre-Dame Cathedral, and George Phileas Vanier was buried at La Citadelle’s commemorative chapel.
In the emptiness that followed, Pauline (in her 74th year) chose to move to France to join their son, Jean. With Jean at the L’Arche community that he had founded, in the warmth and compassion of some 200 mentally handicapped men and woman and young assistants from around the world, Pauline became a beloved grandmother to the community. She lived a full, active life there for nineteen years. She died in 1991, just short of her 93rd birthday. Globe & Mail’s Michael Valpy wrote, “Pauline Vanier invested her entire life with love, humour, service, compassion, and spiritual questing.”
Jean Vanier Awarded the John Templeton Prize 2015
Nellie was born in the farming village of
Midleton, County Cork, in 1845. Her parents were Patrick and Fanny (Cronin) O'Kissane – the family name later anglicized to Cashman. Her father died during the Great Hunger (ca. 1850) and her mother emigrated with Nellie and her sister, Frances, to the United States. They landed in Boston, moved to Washington, D.C. and on to San Francisco where her mother and sister remained. Nellie was petite with jet-black hair, dark eyes, pale complexion and an adventurous will. The Daily British Colonist, 2.5.1875, described her, “…a native of Ireland … possesses all the vivacity as well as the push and energy inherent in her race.”
In 1874 she moved on with 200 miners from Nevada, following the lure of the Gold Rush north to Cassiar, B.C.. Nellie settled in the remote region of Telegraph Creek, set up a boarding house and mined her own claim. Her plan was to wait out the winter and collect supplies in Victoria, but there she heard that many of the men she had journeyed with were sick with scurvy. Nellie immediately hired six men and set out to go back and help them. The journey was 77 days long in the bitter cold, but they had managed to drag 1,500 lbs of supplies with them and they saved the men. In Victoria the following winter, she learned that the city was building a hospital. On her return to Cassiar she ‘passed the hat’ to the miners and sent a substantial donation to the hospital. Nellie returned to the U.S. establishing hotels and restaurants, visiting family and friends in Arizona. Her name added to the Business Hall of Fame. In Tombstone, she met Wyatt Earp who gave her the use of his saloon for Sunday worship until she built the Church of the Sacred Heart which is in use to this day.
On her return to Canada, 1898 Nellie once again joined the miners, climbing the Chilkoot Pass some 20 times to get the required supplies to the Klondike and Dawson City. B.C. Prime Minister of the time, Hon. Theodore Davies wrote to her: “… I have no doubt that the unflinching courage and determination which have been yours in past years, will likewise guide you to success and fortune in the perilous trip to the Yukon …” In Dawson City she helped Fr. Judge, SJ to found St. Mary’s Hospital welcoming the Sisters of St. Ann who came to take on that work.
In the Autumn of 1924, Nellie came down with double pneumonia. Members of the Episcopal Church took her to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Victoria. She had ‘come home to die’ and there she was welcomed by the Sisters of St. Ann and Dr. Barrett who had, whilst in Dawson City, 1902, performed life-saving surgery on Nellie.
Very much of Nellie’s financial success went to charities and, as it is reported by the Sisters of St. Ann, “One of Nellie’s less orthodox methods of raising funds for charitable causes was to slyly sneak into a large saloon and check out the various poker tables. When she saw a sizeable pot, and judged the participants to be agreeable, she would walk over to the table and put her arms around the money saying, ‘Now gentlemen, you don’t mind if this money goes to the good Christian women that’s taking care of the sick’. This particular ‘robbery’ was to help St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Fairbanks, Alaska, but it’s believed that she performed many such raids for other charities. With the respect men had for her and her grace and dignity towards all miners, they never objected.”
ref: The Miners Angel, P.Lydon, D.Chaytor VIPMA@shaw.ca
Ellen (Nellie) Cashman died on January 4, 1925. She is buried beside the Sisters of St. Ann in Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Some contend that nuns were the first feminists.
Sister Elizabeth Kelliher confirmed that this independence dates back to the 12th century when Saint Claire of Assisi, a follower of Saint Francis, wrote her own rules for a religious community of women. The Pope of the time wanted Francis and other male superiors to supervise the women, but Francis said No.
Hon President of the Gaelic Athletic Association Vancouver
Apostolic worker St. Vincent DePaul Society
Ellen (Nellie) O'Kissane Nellie Cashman The Miners' Angel. Business Hall of Fame, Arizona
Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, November 14, 1924 to William James and Kathleen (Lockhart) Reid he received a Belt of Honour degree from Royal Military Academy (Sandhurst England) in 1944, received an L.L.B. from Queen’s University (Belfast, Northern Ireland) in 1948, and received a P.S.C. from Canadian Army Staff College (Kingston, Ont) in 1954. Commander of Military Police in Singapore from 1945-47; Adjutant with l4th/20th Kings Hussars in England from 1950-51; Director of Canadian Government Exhibition Commission in Ottawa from 1962-68; Commissioner General of Canadian Participation in Milan, Italy from 1964-68; in San Antonio, Texas in 1968: Expo ‘70 in Osaka from 1968 -70; Spokane, Washington in 1974; Okinawa, Japan in 1975: Minister at Canada House in London, England from 1978-82; President of International Bureau of Expositions in Paris, France from 1979-83; Ambassador and Commissioner General of Expo ‘86 in Vancouver, British Columbia from 1982-86: Consul General of Canada in San Francisco, California from 1986-88; Chair of Air Show Canada from 1989-91; and Chair of Globe 90 and Globe 92.
Family: Married Alison Cumming on December 12, 1958. They have two children: Amanda and Michael.
Directorships: World Trade Centre; Vancouver Board of Trade; Canada-Japan Society; Director, International Maritime Centre: Director, Ports Canada.
Community Associations: Vice Chair, Man-In-Motion Society; Vancouver Symphony Society; Presidents Club; Simon Fraser U.; Commonwealth Society; Council of Patrons; Unicef- BC. Pastimes: Riding, yachting. Gulf Islands home.
Honours: Officer; Order of Canada;. Military Cross; Canadian Forces Decoration; Centennial Medal; Great Cross of the Order of Merit, Peru; Order of the Chrysanthemum of Japan; 1986 Sales Executive of Sales & Marketing International; First Distinguished Leadership Award of Simon Fraser University, 1986: Vancouver Downtown Association Award, 1986; Community Leadership Award of Vancouver; Board of Trade, 1990 (with wife, Alison); Outstanding Citizen of the Year from Kiwanis Foundation of Canada, 1989.
Sister Elizabeth Kelliher
Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement
Born September 12, 1905 in Jacquet River, New Brunswick,
Father Raymond was the fourth of eleven children born to
Alexander and Clara Hickey. They were a farming family and Raymond attended the local school until age 16, when he was able to leave school and take up jobs in a lumber mill and on a farm to raise enough money for his future education. In 1923 he attended St. Thomas High School in Chatham (no Miramichi) and went on to St. Thomas University graduating in 1928, valedictorian of his class.
His next step was Holy Heart Seminary in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He studied philosophy and theology for five years in preparation for ordination to the priesthood. Ordained at St. Michael’s Basilica, June 1933, he was appointed pastor to the parish of Notre Dame du Sacré Coeur in Bathurst - 50 kms south of his hometown. During his time in Bathurst the youth of the community benefited as he organized sports teams and started the Scout movement. In 1937 he was appointed a member of the faculty of St. Thomas University where he remained for 3 years.
World War II was declared in 1939. On 5 June 1940, the North Shore Regiment mobilized as part of the 8th Brigade, 3rd Canadian division.
Lt. Col. Arthur Leger personally requested that Rev. Hickey be the Regiment’s chaplain. The Regiment relocated to Sussex in December 1940. In July of the next year the unit made its way overseas, moving around Europe for the next three years. On 6 June 1944, the day that would be known as D-Day, Hickey was among the first waves of infantry to arrive on the beaches of Normandy, France to go to each wounded and dying soldier he could reach with spiritual or medical help. By the time the war ended, he was promoted from Captain to Major, and received the Military Cross from King George VI for “exceptional bravery and courage during the landing in Normandy, France…”
As described in the book jacket, "His understanding and leadership of men, his keen sense of humour, and his spirit of self-sacrifice, which won him the Military Cross for bravery under enemy fire on D-Day, made him beloved and respected by all who knew him."
Following the war, Fr. Raymond returned to New Brunswick. He was appointed pastor and made a Monsignor in his parish ministry. He also began writing. His first book was, The Scarlet Dawn, a memoir of his five years with the North Shore Regiment. The book became widely popular as he took his readers into the deep reality of the regiment's experience: For example: “There is nothing more weird than the sound of an air raid siren. I often think that the howls of the demons in hell must be something like it. … ”
In 1961, Fr. Hickey suffered a heart attack that forced him into retirement at Mount St. Joseph, Chatham. He kept himself busy with writing and other activities. In 1976, he was awarded his degree of Doctor of Law, Honoris Causa, from his Alma Mater, St. Thomas U.
In 1979, he was chosen to represent the Canadian R.C. Chaplaincy Service at the 35th anniversary of D-Day in France.
14 September 1987, Monsignor Hickey was in Carpiquet, France, presiding at the unveiling of a monument to “his boys” - the fallen men of the North Shore Regiment. Shortly after delivering his address Father Raymond died there and returned at last to
Jacquet River where he rests in peace in St. Gabriel’s Cemetery.