Today is a good example of what this means.
Oblate Father Chris Rushton and I have just gotten off the Charter plane (he was visiting for the week), when Chief Simeon Tshakapesh of Natuashish phoned because he wanted the new Healing Lodge blessed. The lodge is located on the border of Labrador and Quebec Border Beacon (so-called, because it was a beacon for the Americans during the Second World War.) This area is well known to the Innu as their traditional hunting ground.
Bishop Peter Hundt of Corner Brook and Labrador on a visit to Mushuau Innu Natuashish School in Labrador: from left, school principal Natalie Toba, education director Ruby Jacobish, Jeannine Katshinak, Theresa Michelin, Nympha Byrne, Bishop Hundt, and Mary Josette Mistenapeo.
Not soon after, there we were all 19 passengers in the van, all so excited to see the new Lodge and the four cabins that would house those who will participate in programs to be offered there.
What a work of art! The Healing Lodge is constructed out of logs and beautiful hardwood floors, surrounded by the peace and beauty of that wilderness setting.
To honour the occasion, the parish donated a lovely statue of our Blessed Mother and a crucifix. Both will have a place of honour in the new lodge. After the blessing, we enjoyed a bowl of caribou stew, cheese and cake, and then boarded the plane for home. The healing process of the people will continue and this is a priority for the Natuashish community.
This is my second year of ministry in a mission where the possibilities are endless, or so it seems. I live in that cozy apartment above the sanctuary, sometimes called the penthouse of Natuashish. The garage has been empty since it was built five years ago. Recently, the Chief has agreed to turn the building into a multipurpose room where Father Chris and I can respond to requests for resource allocation programs as well as provide space where the sacramental programs can be taught.
The work will begin next week. There is so much energy around this project. Who knows what the future will bring! I recall some words of wisdom from a great and noble woman, Corrie Ten Boom: Never be afraid to entrust an unknown future to a known God.
Sister Sheila Fortune, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Hamilton, is parish life coordinator at Tshukuminu St. Anne parish in Natuashish, a Mushuau Innu First Nations community in Labrador and Newfoundland, in the Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador.