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A MEMORABLE MANITOBA MOMENT
Yesterday afternoon the Winnipeg community celebrated the interment of Cecile Granger and Aileen Gleason. Now I know I am completely ‘out of turn’ by sending MM now, but the event was so memorable, I hasten to send a few words about the event.
We celebrated Cecile first at 1:30 and then at 2:00 we were joined by a mighty throng – people of many nations, languages, color, religion and stature. Yes, you guessed it, our new citizens (former refugees) whom Aileen sponsored or helped in many other ways to escape a hopeless and often dangerous situation and find new life in Canada. We had time for sharing, and several spoke of their utterly impossible and dangerous circumstances and then the unbelievable – notice that they were sponsored to come to Canada. Their theme was “We had nothing, and now we have everything”. Their gratitude was tangible.
Many still live in Winnipeg, but some travelled from Ottawa to be present and to voice their gratitude in person. When Sandy asked one of them if he would place Aileen’s ashes in the ground, he was overcome with emotion. He said that Aileen had once said to him that he could put her in the ground someday, and this coincidence was just quite overwhelming.
And we gained a new insight into the expression, ‘bury her’. Veronica shared a story of a sister who was killed and the person presiding said, “We come not to bury her, but to plant her”. And so, we gathered yesterday “to plant Cecile and Aileen. For we know their good works will follow them and bear fruit for many generations.”
Father Sam joined us for the celebration, and we acknowledged his long and continuing financial support – the second collection every Sunday goes to Hospitality House Ministry. He said he had just signed the monthly cheque of $2000.00, and gently reminded all of us of the importance of “paying it forward”.
It was a day to celebrate Cecile and Aileen, but I just want to add that the RNDM support of refugee ministry made it all possible. Many RNDM’s worked at Hospitality House through the years and the community has and continues to offer financial support.
And thanks to Denise and Sandy for preparing all the details of this Memorable Moment.