St. Thomas More Medal

 The St. Thomas More medal has been established to recognize and honour persons, groups of persons, and organizations which have combined personal qualities of care, integrity and faith with significant contributions to community and public life.  The award is named after St. Thomas More whose extraordinary example of faithful virtue and public service remains an inspiration ‘for all seasons.’

2016 Recipient Office of the Treaty Commissioner

treaty commissioner

The Thomas More medal recognizes and honours persons, groups of persons, and organizations which have combined personal qualities of care, integrity and spirituality with significant contributions to community and public life. This year, it is our distinct pleasure to present this medal to the Office of the Treaty Commissioner. The Office of the Treaty Commissioner, or OTC, was founded by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians and the Government of Canada in 1989. Since that time it has been involved in the signing of Treaty land entitlement agreements between 28 First Nations and the Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan, has been instrumental in adding Treaty education to the Saskatchewan curriculum and has consistently demonstrated us how “we are all Treaty people.” As articulated on their website, the Office of the Treaty Commissioner works to “promote respect and understanding of Treaties and to help support the Treaty parties in maintaining and enhancing the Treaty relationship through dialogue, neutral support, assistance with resolving disputes and commitment to the Treaty principles” (www.otc.ca). Its mission continues to be two-fold: “first, to support the bi-lateral Treaty Table process between the Government of Canada and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, and, second, to advocate for and build a strong relationship between First Nations and non First Nations people in Saskatchewan to ensure an effective
response among Saskatchewan citizens to support a shared destiny.”

All this work and all these accomplishments, however, are based on a profoundly spiritual worldview, one that, from my perspective, resonates with the scriptural tradition upon which this College is based. The OTC reminds us that Treaties are Sacred Covenants signed before the Creator. These covenants call us to live in right relationship with each other, with the land and with our Creator. The OTC helps us imagine how to live covenant more faithfully, celebrating our diversity and inviting us into the ongoing process of reconciliation. St. Thomas More College has benefitted greatly from the leadership, work and guidance of the Office of the Treaty Commissioner and, in particular, the support of its Executive Director and current acting Treaty Commissioner, Mr. Harry Lafond. Harry is known as a consummate bridge builder between all Treaty peoples. He has supported our work to transform St. Thomas More College into a place where all feel welcome and at home. He, and the OTC as a whole, has helped educate us, build relationships with First Nations Elders and communities, and, all the while, has modeled what respectful relationships built upon mutual dialogue and trust can look like. Most recently, as part of our Advisory Circle, he has helped us create the Chair for Indigenous Spirituality and Reconciliation at STM. Harry and the OTC, as a whole, have spent countless hours working with us but we also know that what the OTC has done to support our work as a College they have also repeated again and again in their work with other groups and organizations across the province. At a recent gathering of journalists reflecting on how they report on Indigenous issues, TRC Indian Residential School Survivor Committee member Eugene Arcand said that ‘reconciliation cannot be delegated’. The Office of the Treaty Commissioner has certainly not delegated the work of reconciliation! It has taken the lead and helped us all imagine how we can together build a stronger community that celebrates the distinct gifts of all peoples and recognizes the covenant that binds us together in this time and place. We, St. Thomas More College, look forward to our continued journey together with the OTC. We are grateful to the OTC for helping us imagine a different future as an institution and for supporting our work to meet the needs of all students who walk through our doors. It is therefore our pleasure and honour to recognize the Office of the Treaty Commissioner by presenting it with the 2016 St. Thomas More Medal.

2015 Recipient Fr. André Poilievré

poilievre

The St. Thomas More medal has been established to recognize and honour persons, groups of persons, and organizations who combine personal qualities of care, integrity and faith with significant contributions to community and public life. The award is named after St. Thomas More whose extraordinary example of faithful virtue and public service remains an inspiration to all. This year’s award winner was announced at the Corporation dinner by President Downey. STM proudly recognizes Fr. André Poilièvre and STR8 UP, the organization he founded, as the 2015 recipient of the St. Thomas More Medal.
Father Poilièvre, a native of Prud’homme, has attended 4 different universities, including the Catholic University in Paris. He notes that his ministry has been shaped by 3 influences: the worker priest movement in France, the Second Vatican Council, and liberation theology. His lifelong passion and priestly mission has been his dedication to helping young offenders, addicts and gang members make it through the difficult journey from hurting to healing. Originally serving as director of the Catholic Centre, he soon became a pastor at St. Michael’s Parish. During his time there he met a First Nations man whose life story sparked in Father Poilièvre an awareness of entirely different experience of Canadian reality, a reality that would
eventually lead him to walk with young men on the path to healing. Father Poilièvre then became involved in adult education programs in Saskatoon. His enthusiasm for education then took him to the Arctic where he spent 5 years developing and implementing training programs for Inuit and Dene management trainees in Inuit and First Nations owned co-operative enterprises.
After further studies at the University of Toronto, Father Poilièvre spent the next 10 years working with disadvantaged youth as a teacher, counsellor and chaplain in Saskatoon at Joe Duquette High School (now Oskayak). He became further involved in helping youth by spending time with those incarcerated at Kilburn Hall, and eventually the Saskatoon Correction Centre. After his time at Joe Duquette, he became the coordinating chaplain at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre where he spent the next 7 years. In a recent CBC news article, Father Poilièvre expressed his concern about the lack of effective rehabilitation programs in this facility. He advocates that a change in attitudes toward criminals and jails is necessary. This shift, he feels, could instigate a change in these centres from a culture of violence, crime, conflicts, hate and resentment, to an environment of therapy, healing, rehabilitation and wellness.
Combining his experience in education, counselling, and chaplaincy, with his concern and advocacy for youth, he co-founded STR8 UP, an organization which helps to liberate individuals from gangs and criminal lifestyles, and to find hope and healing. STR8 UP has helped over 100 young people escape gang-life.
In 2006, Father André Poilièvre received an appointment to Order of Canada. Our country’s highest civilian honor recognizes the social and moral support he has provided for Aboriginal and inner-city youth struggling with addictions and gang violence, over the course of 20 years.

In 2014 he retired from his role of priest moderator at Sts-Martyrs-Canadiens Parish in Saskatoon.

2014 Recipient Fr. Bernard De Margiere

Working for Christian unity has been the lifelong passion for Bernard de Margerie’s priestly mission. Rev. Bernard de Margerie was a young priest, newly ordained, when Pope John XXIII put out the call for Vatican II in 1959.  Inspired by what the Pope had said, Father de Margerie yearned to play an integral role. “That night it dawned on me that his call to work on Christian unity was the call of the gospel for me,”
de Margerie said.
He was instrumental in the establishment of the Council of Churches in Saskatoon, organizing interdenominational sunrise services, and carrying out, to this point, unheard of dialogues with various other denominations.
In 1984, the Centre for Ecumenism became a reality, governed by a "devoted band of 12 people, six of them Catholic, and other six from the Council of Churches."  The Centre’s ecumenical sponsorship expanded to include Anglican, Evangelical Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Church of Canada, Ukrainian Catholic and Mennonite churches. The result is a centre that is unique in Canada.
Fr. de Margerie was the founder of the Centre back in 1984, and served as the executive director until 1994.
From the outset, it was a Catholic agency for the service of all denominations. In 1988, however, the Centre became jointly owned. A new constitution was drawn up for the Saskatoon Centre for Ecumenism (later renamed Prairie Centre for Ecumenism), an exclusively
interdenominational agency. House of Abraham was also established as a sub-office of the Centre to develop relations with other world religions. This, in part, also gave birth to Multifaith Saskatoon.
In recognition of his work in ecumenism, Fr. de Margerie has received honorary doctor of divinity degrees from St. Andrew's College, and the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad. De Margerie was also awarded the first Canadian Ecumenical Leadership Award by the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism in Montreal in 1985.
In 2009, Fr. De Margerie retired from active ministry after over 50 years. During these years he had served in parish ministry across the RC Diocese of Saskatoon, and in a number of specialized ministries, including serving as chaplain at City Hospital and ecumenical officer for the Saskatoon Roman Catholic diocese.
Although ‘retired’ he has continued to have an active role in ecumenism in Saskatoon and across the diocese, and is currently priest-moderator at the Francophone Roman Catholic parish of Saints-Martyrs-Canadiens in Saskatoon.
STM has developed a series of lectures and workshops named the de Margerie Series on Christian Unity and Reconciliation in honour of Fr. de Margerie’s known ecumenical ministry spanning over five decades. This January, the guest speaker for this series is Dr. Westerfield, Professor of Worship from Boston University.
Fr. de Margerie’s lifelong dedication to bring Christians together is an inspiration to STM, as we embrace inclusivity in our own College community, welcoming all persons.  As reflected in our Mission statement. Thank you Bernard for all that you have done – we are proud to present you with the St. Thomas More Medal.

2013 Recipient Sr. Callista Arnold OSU

 

Born in Prelate, Saskatchewan, Callista Arnold was one of 10 children born to Romanian immigrant parents. Family has always remained a vital part of her life.
Although Callista grew up poor, her parents always instilled in their children a lot of faith, trust & belief in prayer. She has always had a great appreciation of nature – water and the skies; with these elements often serving as motivation for her paintings as a gifted artist.
After attending a one-room country school until Gr. X, Sr. Callista went to St. Angela’s Convent in Prelate. She became a sister at 17 and was officially accepted into the Ursuline Order at 21.
Sister Callista acquired her teaching certificate in 1954, spent 25 years in the teaching profession, came to the U of S to enrich her teaching and then pursued a Theology degree in Ottawa in 1971.
In 1988, Sister Callista stepped into the Pastoral Associate position at St. Anne’s parish in Saskatoon. By 1995 she felt a calling to become involved as a compassionate presence with Persons Living With Aids(PLWA). PLWA is a volunteer, non-profit organization whose aim is to build a network providing support and social activities for persons diagnosed with HIV disease. Her role would include visiting these people in their homes, in hospitals and within palliative care homes.
Sister Callista has stated that this ministry is “walking with people made in the image and likeness of God.” She has worked, laughed and cried alongside the people of our city who live with being HIV infected or who have full-blown aids. She reflects that attending to those dying of AIDS can be very difficult because of the physical, emotional, psychological pain and spiritual struggle of these people.
As is very evident in this brief recount of Sister Callista’s faith and public service, we see she is a wonderful example of the qualities we seek for the STM Medal recipient.
She has been quoted as saying her hope is that “all Christians will be gifted with faith that is deeply rooted in the Gospel – a Gospel of hope, acceptance and commitment.” And ultimately that she can give someone strength for life’s journey.
We know that accomplishment to be true.
Thank you Sister Callista for sharing your energy and love with so many.

2012 Recipient Past Recipients

L'Arche Saskatoon

(Excerpts from the L’Arche Saskatoon web-site: www.larchesaskatoon.ca)

In 1998 a number of people who felt a desire and a call to bring L’Arche to Saskatoon formed a group called “Led by the Spirit”.  At the request of L’Arche Canada, they began to hold monthly gatherings for adults with intellectual disabilities and their friends and families.  The aim of the gatherings was to create a welcoming social setting where adults with intellectual disabilities could enjoy the company of others, and to support parents with sons or daughters living at home, by providing a place where they could step out of their isolation, share their stories of daily living, and give and receive support from friends. 

The gatherings have now grown to have a regular attendance of 60 to 90 people—about half of them men and women with intellectual disabilities.  At each gathering—now called “Friends of L’Arche Gatherings”—there is a time at the beginning to socialize with others, followed by a sit-down meal.  After the meal, there is a group activity in which everyone is invited to participate, music and singing, a time to remember and pray for those who are ill or in need of support, and then a final song before clean-up and good-byes.  A wonderfully vibrant community life has developed at the Friends of L’Arche Gatherings.

Opening the first L’Arche home in Saskatoon

When the Led by the Spirit group first contacted L’Arche Canada to express their desire to open a L’Arche home in Saskatoon, they were asked to begin, not by buying a house, but by building community with people with intellectual disabilities.  It is community life—mutual relationships, people sharing life together with other people—that is at heart of all L’Arche communities around the world.  A strong community has developed around the Friends of L’Arche Gatherings, and the L’Arche Saskatoon Project is now a reality.

In February, 2007, L’Arche Saskatoon purchased a house in the Lakeview area of Saskatoon that became the first L’Arche home in Saskatoon.  This home has since become known as Christopher House.

The L’Arche Saskatoon Project offers residential support to adults with a developmental disability.  The staffing model consists primarily of live-in assistants who share their lives with the core members of the community. 

The L’Arche Saskatoon Project joins the 27 other communities that make up L’Arche Canada; and it will strengthen its ties with the other L’Arche communities in the Western Canada Region in Comox, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, and Winnipeg. 

L’Arche Saskatoon is an ecumenical Christian community.  Each community member is encouraged to deepen in his or her spiritual life according to his or her particular faith tradition.  Those who have no religious affiliation are also welcomed.  Together, we are working to build a community of hope and love.

1993 - Mr. Justice Emmett Hall

1994 - Mr. Urban Donlevy, Sr.

1994 - Mr. Leslie Dubé

1994 - Sister Irene Poelzer

1994 - Mr. Howard Stensrud

1996 - Congregations of Women Religious of the Saskatoon Diocese

1997 - Saskatchewan Knights of Columbus

1998 - Brazil Missionaries of the Abbacy, Eparchy, and Diocese of Saskatoon

1998 - Mr. Roland Muir

1999 - The Prairie Messenger

1999 - The Basilian Fathers

2000 - The Catholic Women's League of Saskatchewan

2001 - Newman Centre

2002 - Brent Gough and Dennis Dorgan

2003 - Dr. John Thompson

2008 - Dr. Ken Smith