Giving back: Joan Pape, on left, and sister Margaret.
Joan Pape and her sister Margaret served as pastoral administrators for Our Lady of the Islands Mission in the Queen Charlotte Islands, in
In reminiscences she shared as part of Catholic Missions In Canada’s centennial celebrations last year, Joan wrote:
“My first contact with the missions in
The gifts for Christmas were shipped in the summer because it was cheaper to send goods to the missions by water rather than by air. During winter months, the rivers and lakes were frozen over and air traffic was necessary.”
Her early experience helped Joan to consider working in the missions with her sister Margaret on their retirement: Joan from her work as a physical therapist, and Margaret, after many years of service with
The Pape sisters with Faye and Doug Burle at Our Lady of the Islands Mission.
During a week’s visit to know more about life as pastoral administrators in the Queen Charlotte Islands in
Joan and Margaret Pape served as pastoral administrators in the
After the regular Saturday morning Liturgy of the Word in the
About every six weeks, and weather permitting, Father Terry McNamara flew over from Prince Rupert on the Mainland for Sunday afternoon Mass. Recalls Joan: “Once we went for three months without Masses because the flying conditions were so unfavourable!”
When the military base at Masset closed, the sisters served that community through a Saturday afternoon liturgy. The number of Catholics in the
Since they were new to the area, the sisters took their isolation as a challenge and determined to meet the people as much as they could. They made friends in the community and came to be known as, “The sisters who are not Sisters.”
Serving in the community gave them significant insights, says Joan. Preparing for the weekly liturgical prayers honed her skills in choosing the music and preparing a meditation on the Sunday Scripture readings.
It’s been many years since their mission journey, says Joan, but she describes their experience as “difficult, yet rewarding.” Margaret, who has since been stricken with Alzheimer’s and is confined at the Houses of Providence, is now 85, and Joan, 81.
“Our parents, Angela and Augustine Pape, gave us a great example of living our faith,” says Joan, “By going to the missions even for a year, we thought we could give back something of this, no matter how small.”