Posted June 21, 2005 in MH Regina SK:
Notes from Near and Far: Regina, Saskatchewan

by Sandy Wood, Marian Centre Regina.

Volunteers are an integral part of our house. Many have been coming for over thirty years. Many have taken staff members into their hearts, and so find it very difficult to see us transferred. Did you know that Saskatchewan is the #1 volunteer capital in Canada? These warm, generous hearts make up for the cold, biting wind of a prairie winter.

Maria Park, our first Korean staff worker, is attending two-hour English classes twice a week. Her full-time classmates are Japanese, Saudi Arabian, Turkish, Afghani, Korean, and so forth.

Sandra Novecosky has completed a course in stained glass and has presented us with a beautifully crafted mirror and lampshade.

Archbishop Peter Mallon, the bishop of our diocese, was able to help serve the men who come to our soup kitchen at the Christmas meal. He only stayed for an hour due to his battle with cancer. Serving alongside him was our MH associate priest, Fr. Don Bolen.

Archbishop Peter officially resigned in February as he is in the hospital. We are praying both for him and for our diocesan administrator, Fr. Ken Miller.

We are grateful and delighted when two other associate priests, Fr. Murray Kuemper and Fr. Michael Schneider, spend days off in our house. They are truly fine and faith-filled priests.

Four of the staff—Michael Weitl, Sandra N., Nancy Topping, and Paul Moore, took part in a 20-member choir helping the Myriam Bethlehem community (a “new” French-speaking ecclesial community) make a CD of their music. This was their first English language recording. (It took 24 hours to record 12 songs.)

Often in the late afternoon, after our cleanup, I sit down in the freshly washed and cleaned dining room. The tables and chairs are in order and the playing cards stacked away. Sunlight streams in covering the walls, and quiet takes up the space that hours before was loudly filled with the men who come for a meal and a place where they are welcome.

What has gone on here? Why this presence of peace, of life, of tranquility? Who filled this room but men of every sort, all bowed by poverty, aloneness, shame, alcohol, drugs, and rejection?

We do not look for signs and wonders, but as I sit in this quiet, light-filled room the words come to me: “Take off your shoes, for this place is holy.”  


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