Sr. Goulet, on right, enjoys a moment with Lawrence Menacho and Judy McPherson as the couple goes through the marriage preparation course. Sr. Goulet will witness their marriage for the community in Tulita. Photo by Michael Swan
A story of Sylvia and hope for the future
The preschool program has been running for 30 years now, and is housed in the third building that was built by Tulita in 1995. We are now raising money to build a larger school building.
I have lived in
Everyone with preschoolers preferred the preschool program and encouraged me to start a preschool. They liked the idea that their children could be with their family or extended family for half a day as well as attend half a day at preschool with their peers and preschool teachers.
After buying a small old house from Housing Corporation for a dollar, Brother Larouge and members of Tulita and I helped renovate the building into a preschool.
The preschool program has been running for 30 years now, and is housed in the third building that was built by Tulita in 1995. We are now raising money to build a larger school building that can accommodate more children and provide more space for our program.
I have become a friend to everyone here in Tulita.
One of them is community member Sylvia Clement who is now 29 years old and mother to a smart little girl, Rihanna, who is four.
When Sylvia was Rihanna’s age, she often spent days at my house when her parents and grandparents were unable to take care of her and her two cousins.
Sylvia continues to visit me and share her joys and challenges. At present, she is upgrading her high school courses at
The following essay was written by Sylvia who recently won an award for being a strong woman leader.
WHAT MAKES A STRONG WOMAN LEADER?
By Sylvia Clement
Through my eyes, I have seen people deal with pain and abuse in different ways. Some people strive to better their lives; some drink their life away to bury their pain. Some have worked so hard in life not to give in to drink and have made a better life for themselves and their families.
I view strength in women who have the following qualities: They are women who work hard and stand up for themselves. They are single moms who are finishing school. They are women who have been abused but have made their voices heard when life was so difficult. They are women who still have faith to move further in life.
The strong women leaders in the community and throughout my life also show respect for all the people they meet. This is why they are so well respected.
For example, Sister Celeste Goulet who loved and accepted people, good or bad. She opened and dedicated herself to the preschool and the Tulita community for years. Sister Celeste continues this dedication to our community. Leadership and strength also means having a positive impact on others—like Sister Celeste, who gave love to the children when they needed it the most.
As a young child, I did not have people to look up to. There was just too much pain and not enough trust. All I knew were unanswered questions about myself. I was confused. I hid my true feelings from others and from myself.
Since giving birth to my daughter, my eyes have opened to a new world. I hope to become a strong leader so that I can give my daughter and brother a better and happier childhood than my own.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Sylvia Clement of Tulita has been awarded this year’s Council of the Federation (CoF) Literacy Award for the Northwest Territories. Sylvia is committed to improving the literacy of others as a volunteer in Tulita’s
Felician Sister Celeste Goulet is pastoral leader of Saint Theresa of Avila mission in Tulita, Northwest Territories, in the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith. She received the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education in 2007-2008.
Catholic Missions in Canada Magazine, Winter 2011