Thursday, December 22, 2011



I've reached the age where I see my siblings dying, something quite different from having your parents die (many years in the past for me). Just this week I have been to Calgary for the funeral of my sister Anne. Sister sister actually. She had been a member of the Congregation of the Sisters Of Charity of St, Louis for many decades (since 1959), and had actually been Sister Superior on two different occasions. My sister died in the Calgary airport. For some inexplicable reason I want to attribute her massive heart attack to running to make a connecting flight. I don't know why I want to insist on this. It was indeed chance. Perhaps I want to be assured that the dice of chance were really loaded against her.

In any case I will miss her tremendously. I always enjoyed argueing religion with her, no matter how upset her and I may have been at the time. She was actually one of the people I have met in my life who could make a reasonable argument for the existence of God. Her political views were a strange mixture, containing great sympathy for the semi-anarchist Catholic left such as the Berrigans, along with justification of the evil done by the Catholic Church vis-a-vis the first nations of Canada. To her credit I did see a certain antipathy to the Jesuits (I survived five years of the bastards). Too bad I never heard her views when she was teaching theology in Edmonton.

My sister: Four degrees. A PhD in English literature which led to a few arguments about post modernism. She was open to it. My own position, based in empiricism, was that it was nonsense through and through. She was on her way to Montreal to deliver a paper when she died. Actually I never saw evidence that academia had poisoned her taste for literature which postmodernism has a great tendency to do. On the other hand our tastes in literature were quite different.

In any case she was a remarkable woman whose career spanned Canada, Europe, Africa, the Caribean and the USA. While we often disagreed we loved each other and had great respect for each other. Memorial tributes, according to her will, may be made to a charity supporting women's education in Kenya. She herself taught there under the sponsorship of Canadian Crossroads International.


Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Sad to hear about this Pat. My guess is the Good Lord did not want her to die surrounded by Quebecois papists. A little omnipotent Charity, your sister was surely grateful for.

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