100th Anniversary of Service by Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate, Yorkton

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YORKTON………On hundred years ago the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate arrived in Yorkton and began teaching music and religion. It was a difficult time but the sisters persevered and it wasn’t long before some of their Sisters began teaching in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert Schools. The Centenary celebration was a two parish affair here, The Ukrainian Catholic Church St. Mary and the Latin rite church, St. Gerard. The ceremonies took place at St. Mary and the banquet and tribute speeches were held at St. Gerard.

“It was a wonderful celebration,” said St. Mary parish priest Reverend Bohdan Lukie in an interview with the PM. “About 200 came to the celebration including some from Toronto. Bishop Bryan Bayda and retired Bishop Michael Wiwchar and nine priests from around Saskatchewan attended.”

The sisters actually arrived in Yorkton in 1915 and it wasn’t until the following year when they moved into a new convent and began their teaching.

Sacred Heart School in 1966, had 200 girls, the Principal was sister Bohdana and everyone, teachers, cooks, librarian, office staff, dormitory prefects were Sisters. Leo Misko and Nick Greshuk in that year became the first lay teachers. Misko reminisced as he paid tribute to the Sisters in a banquet speech.  “This was a very successful school run entirely by women because it was 1967,” he said parodying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ‘because it’s 2015.’  Misko spoke about the difficulties they encountered with no income and no government grants but they didn’t beg. “I mean they used their social skills, on doorsteps, over garden fences, bazaars and visits to family homes to collect funds,” said Misko. “They had an aura of respect and trust which inspired people to give willingly and generously.” Several additions were added to the original structure in 1916 to become a modern school with all the amenities including even a swimming pool all paid for the by the Sisters, said Misko. The Catholic School Board eventually took responsibility for the maintenance and daily operation. The school was abandoned when the school board moved into new facilities in 2003 and the Sisters had to decide what do with the building. Praying to their foundress Blessed Josaphata Hordashevska, Integrated Life Care came calling and the school was renovated, restored and expanded and the Sacred Heart Assisted Living Facility was officially opened October 21, 2008.

 

Besides education the Sisters contributed to the daily lives of the people of Yorkon, Misko reminded his audience that they cared for the sick, the elderly, the dying and cared for orphaned and deprived children especially during the 1918 flu epidemic and helped new Ukrainian immigrants adjust to their new Canadian home. Three Sisters Servants still live in Yorkton.

By Leo Misko and Frank Flegel