Ursulines of North America
Ursulines of Prelate (Canada)
Ursulines of Prelate
305 Hilliard St. E
Saskatoon SK S7J 0E5
Tel: 306-653-2134 or 306-653-0534 –
The Ursulines of Prelate experience their story as one of evolution.
Today, age and diminishment are reshaping the face of their ministry. They no longer work abroad. Most of them live in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where they remain involved in an active outreach in pastoral care, volunteer work, spiritual direction, university involvements, adult education, archives and the fine arts. Some sisters are involved in internal congregational service, caring for the elderly and infirm. The leadership continues to carry forward the thrust of recent congregational meetings: to plan appropriate residence and care of an aging membership and to determine how “educating for life” will continue.
St. Angela’s charism has been the common thread throughout the multiple changes since 1919.
Four Sisters originally from Germany arrived in Prelate, Saskatchewan, in 1919 with faith, trust, enthusiasm and ten dollars. Faced with the challenges of new beginnings, poverty and the Great Depression, they could not have foreseen the far-reaching influence their community would have on the Church and society as educators.
Their story falls into five periods. During the first seven years - the foundation years - the co-founders, Mother Clementia Graffelder, OSU, and Father Joseph Riedinger, OMI, and the young Ursulines worked tirelessly to establish the fledgling community. In 1923 the community was accepted as a dependency of Cologne. In 1926 the community became autonomous and received the freedom to adapt its way of life to the times and circumstances of its milieu.
The next two decades - the survival years – were steeped in the Great Depression and economic poverty. At this time the Ursulines taught in twelve country schools south of Prelate under deplorable conditions.
The following twenty years – the structure years – were filled with building and mission expansion. Membership increased to 100 by 1946. Numerous missions were opened in villages and towns throughout western Canada. By 1981, the Ursulines had served in 66 missions, including ones in Swaziland, Brazil and Zimbabwe (1983). A modern convent and academy complex replaced the original deteriorating convent in Prelate. Secular and/or modified dress gradually replaced the traditional garb.
Then came the searching years – twenty years of renewing and refounding in response to Vatican II. These blended with the surprise years which led the Ursulines to adapt their life and ministry to the circumstances of the times in order to keep abreast to the needs of the Church and the world.
The goals of academic education were broadened to “educating for life” to include ministry other than classroom teaching. Sisters became involved in spiritual direction and retreat work, liturgy, prayer, adult faith formation and catechetics. Some served in the fine arts, virtual education, holistic and campus ministries. A few sisters worked in the health and pastoral care areas. Others pursued university and adult education, immigrant, native and parish ministries.
Changes in ministry led to changes in lifestyle. Sisters began to live alone for ministry or other reasons. In the early 1980s the Ursulines received fresh impetus from lay people asking to share in the spirit of St. Angela as Associates. The Associates have adapted the charism to family life and broadened it to include the marketplace and leadership in church.
One of the community’s most difficult decisions was to close St. Angela’s Academy in 2007 after educating young women there for 88 years. Collaboration with the Ursulines of Bruno, who experienced similar circumstances, has encouraged these communities to “take refuge at the feet of Jesus” (St. Angela’s Seventh Counsel, 6) as they travel toward their twilight years.
The Ursulines of Prelate have looked to the past in gratitude and to the future in trust and have lived the present in hope as they moved from one evolution to the next.
Country where the congregation is present
1 gennaio 2012