Sister Angela Shea, C.N.D.
After teaching for 43 years, Sister decides to take on ministry in Mayo,
Following in the footsteps of my older sister, I attended Prince of Wales College in
During those forty-three years of teaching, I continued to study, completing my Bachelor of Arts and Education degrees as well as master’s degrees in mathematics and school psychology.
In 1986, I was asked to consider early retirement to fill a need for parish ministry at Our Lady of Sorrows parish in
The parishioners flocked in to meet me and became my friends and helpers immediately. I soon became involved with Foster Children, caring for girls who needed a safe home for a period of time. I also worked as a substitute teacher serving nearby schools and organizing religious education classes in which parents became involved preparing children for First Communion and Confirmation.
Father Paullet, our pastor, was a man who liked to keep things forever. I soon developed a special interest in garage sales. I upholstered chairs, found treasures in his old garage, storage rooms, in the cupboards and in corners one would never think of looking. I suggested that a garage sale was timely, a good way to downsize, but Father was a bit reluctant, yet he agreed for me to try. Father Paullet gave me lots of scope to work. He was the wind beneath my wings. I loved my ministry in
Five years can go by pretty fast and having come directly from the classroom without a break, my community offered me a year's sabbatical. This took me to
Bishop Tom said: “Well, listen well, He is calling.” “Here I am Lord, speak,” I replied, “I am listening.” Bishop Tom gave me the names of several parishes where he needed people to shepherd the flock. When I asked where the greatest need was, he replied without hesitation, “Mayo!” Bishop Tom then requested my posting from our provincial leader, Sister Marie Hagan, who in turn asked if I was ready to take on the parish of Christ the King in Mayo as administrator. True to form, I answered, “You know, Marie, I would do anything for Christ the King. Will He be there?”
And so on August 23, 1992, I arrived in Mayo with my dog Honey in a small station wagon loaded to the hilt with items for our first garage sale. Parishioners never knew what hit them. Due to ill health, Father Henk Huijbers, O.M.I. retired to the Oblate Centre in
The church at Christ the King parish in Mayo, Yukon.
I worked from early morning until late at night and kept an open line to the Master Himself, Christ the King. The garage came to be known as the Mayo Mall and business was thriving. It was possible to get almost anything you wanted if you paid the price and asked for it on time. The structure was completely paid for in a very short time. Fund-raisers resulted in new floor coverings for the kitchen, porch and church. People in the community were very supportive whether they were parishioners or not, and of course, Catholic Missions In Canada provided financial support which was greatly appreciated.
Once a teacher, always a teacher. I used my teaching skills by doing a literacy program for interested students, mostly seniors. Each year, one of the students was awarded the Student of the Year for the
Because of the needs in the community, I served beyond the call of duty. Aside from serving as chief returning officer for the Federal Election, I took the census for the federal government, served as manager of the local CIBC bank, did pricing statistics at the local store, served as treasurer of the School Council, did substitute teaching at the
I always looked forward to Sunday when a neighbouring priest would come for Eucharist and the people would gather after the service and refreshments served in a homey atmosphere.
When the priest was unable to be there, I would lead the congregation in prayers and Scripture readings, followed by a homily which explained the readings. Holy Communion would be distributed and all received God's blessing, after which they gathered in the kitchen to share another hour socializing. Then all went on their journey with grateful hearts that they had the opportunity to worship the Lord as family. I would then be alone with my dog until neighbours and friends from the Anglican Church would drop in for coffee and a chat.
(Editor's Note: After seventeen years serving the mission of Christ the King and an arthritic ankle joint replacement, Sister Angela Shea, C.N.D., reluctantly accepted retirement. She admits that it was quite a struggle digging up her roots: “It was like leaving my home and family all over again.” However, she says she will always be grateful for the privilege given her to serve as a missionary in the Diocese of
Reprinted from: Catholic Missions In