Winnipeg’s Grey Nuns have fun 175 years of service
Crowds gathered on the steps of the historic St. Boniface Cathedral Friday to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the arrival of the Gray Nuns in Winnipeg.
Following the call for religious educators, four tenacious sisters left the relative comfort of Montreal in 1844 to travel to the Red River Valley.
These original four Gray Nuns arrived on the banks of the Red River 58 days later, and their congregation is in the city to this day. Elaine Beate, a gray nun since 1983, believes that the longevity of the nunnery is due to her belief in “collaborators”.
“The men and women who have been here and come with you to help them live more dignified lives,” she said.
When asked to describe the first sisters, Beate called them “trailblazers” – women who have traveled hundreds of kilometers to serve an unknown community. This is one of the reasons she took her vows with the Gray Nuns.
“I appreciate the very ‘incarnational’ aspect, the conviction that the values profess to really put into practice,” said Beate.
In view of the decline in age and population, Beate is confident that the work of the Gray Nuns will continue.
“There is a change in numbers when you look at it that way in terms of membership, but in other ways the numbers are increased by the lay people who share in the spirit and mission that we have,” she said.