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.’
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|
(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