Ursulines of Prelate celebrate centennial

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski

[Catholic Saskatoon News] – One hundred years ago, three Ursuline sisters from Germany arrived in Prelate, SK, to assist in meeting the spiritual, educational and social needs of the Catholic community struggling to establish itself near the Sandhills of Saskatchewan.

Gallery of photos from the 100th Anniversary Celebration BELOW

On Sunday, June 1, 2019, a century of faith and service by the Ursulines of Prelate was joyfully celebrated at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon.

Sr. Brigitta Haag, OSU, (left) who is over 100 years old, was one of the Ursulines who brought up the gifts for the centennial Mass.

Hundreds of community members, friends, family and associates gathered with the Ursulines of Prelate for celebration of the Eucharist with Bishop Mark Hagemoen, Abbot Peter Novecosky of St. Peter’s Abbey, Bishop Albert Thevenot of Prince Albert, Archbishop Murray Chatlain of Keewatin-Le Pas, Bishop Bryan Bayda of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon, and Bishop Emeritus Gerald Wiesner, OMI, and priests from across the diocese.

In his homily, Bishop Hagemoen reflected on the history and service of the Ursulines of Prelate, and their prophetic example. “Gratitude, generosity, and magnanimity are now more counter-cultural and prophetic than ever,” he said.

“God has and is doing great things through this community of religious women. They may not carry on their mission exactly as they have for the last 100 years. But clearly they will continue to inspire new ways and forms of missionary and apostolic life,” said the bishop. “We thank them – and God – immensely, for a radical and committed taking up of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by word, mission, and life. The Ursulines of Prelate have shaped the Catholic and wider community of Saskatchewan. We continue to look to their example as we discern how to build on such faith and service.”

Bishop Mark Hagemoen’s Homily at the 100th Anniversary Mass: CLICK HERE for PDF

During a program following the Mass, Sr. Teresita Kambeitz, OMI, presented a slide show of photographs, and recounted the history of the Ursulines of Prelate, starting with the arrival of Mother Clementia Graffelder, Mother Luitgardis Kratochwill, and Sister Thekla Bonus, at the invitation of Fr. Joseph Riedinger, OMI. Originally from Cologne, Germany, the three Ursuline sisters had originally come to Winnipeg at the invitation of another Oblate of Mary Immaculate, Fr. Paul Hilland, OMI.

Sr. Teresita Kambeitz, OSU, gave an overview of the history of the Ursulines of Prelate.

Within a year of the Ursulines’ arrival in Prelate, volunteers in the pioneer Catholic community had built St. Angela’s Convent, and the sisters had their first postulant. Within 25 years, the Ursulines of Prelate had grown to include 25 members.

The Ursulines were missionaries, sharing the hardships of the immigrant families who had fled persecution in Russia and the Crimea to find a new life in Saskatchewan. The sisters served in many capacities, but the primary charism of the Ursuline order established by founder St. Angela Merici was education, with a particular focus on educating girls. The Ursulines of Prelate operated St. Angela’s Academy for 88 years until the school and the convent were closed some 12 years ago.

The Ursuline’s mission of “Educating for Life” was lived out in many other ways — as teachers in communities throughout Saskatchewan; in missionary service in the Canadian north, in Africa and South America; providing summer catechism programs; establishing choirs, teaching music and leading in the arts;  and providing faith formation and pastoral ministry in parishes. Among the Ursulines were also “home mangers who blessed the sisters by lovingly caring for our needs” through gardening, cooking, and homemaking, Sr. Teresita described.

Over 100 years, the Ursulines of Prelate have served in some 88 schools, 67 parishes, 38 educational centres, 11 hospitals and care facilities, she listed. A total of 236 women entered the congregation: of those, 120 eventually followed other paths; 81 have died; and from a peak membership of 157 sisters in 1967, the Ursulines of Prelate presently number 35 sisters, with all but four now living in Saskatoon.

“It is all about Jesus,” Sr. Teresita concluded. “To him be the praise and the honour and the glory, forever and ever.”

During the program emceed by Bill Shumay and Andy Praksas, Fr. Ephraim Mensah read a message of congratulations and blessing from the Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi.

Fr. David Tumback was guest speaker during the 100th anniversary program at the Cathedral of the Holy Family.

Fr. David Tumback then offered a personal reflection on the impact of the Ursulines of Prelate on his own life and vocation, and on the life of the community. “The Ursulines of Prelate are in my DNA,” he said. “One of the great blessings of my life is that I got to grow up with the Sisters … The Foundation of my own vocation as priest is because of the Ursulines of Prelate.”

He concluded: “We have been blessed by the presence of these women… God’s love has been revealed to us by the Sisters.”

Sr. Anne Lewans, OSU, brought words of thanks, and then all of the Ursulines of Prelate present at the celebration came forward to sing “Hail Saint Angela” together.

Read the Catholic Register article about the Celebration: CLICK HERE

Ursulines of Prelate Centennial Celebration

"Hail St. Angela" sung by the Ursulines of Prelate at today's 100th anniversary celebration — the Ursulines arrived at Prelate, SK. in April 1919.

Posted by Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon on Saturday, June 1, 2019


The Ursulines of Prelate in 2019. (Photo by Tim Yaworski)


From the Archives: Centennial celebration marking arrival of Ursulines of Bruno was held in September 2013: LINK