This week at St. Mary’s parish, we mark the passing on of a remarkable woman, a person remembered fondly by all the parishioners who knew her. Sr. Katherine Nickerson passed away at the infirmary of the Sisters of Charity of Halifax on March 15 at the age of 94. Her funeral and burial were celebrated in Halifax last Thursday, March 21st.
Sr. Katherine was with us at St. Mary’s Parish from the time of her retirement from her career as a teacher and school administrator until 2007. We all remember her as an incredibly generous, diligent worker, and as the “memory of the parish”, as Fr. Vincent Travers used to refer to her. She simply knew everyone, and everything there was to know about St. Mary’s Parish. But above all of these attributes, two stand out for me. The first is her kindness. Sr. Katherine was just an incredibly kind person, always interested in the person who happened to be with her, and always wanting to share all kinds of interesting information, and especially, history. The second thing that stands out for me in Sr. Katherine is a side of her that I discovered under the circumstances of her departure. When she was no longer able to continue to live and serve in St. Mary’s parish, she left for the infirmary of the Sisters of Charity of Halifax. This was no small move. Vancouver was not only the place in which Sr. Katherine had lived the bulk of her life as a religious. It was also her home. She was born and raised here. She loved Vancouver very, very much. She left for Halifax knowing that she would probably never return to Vancouver. I was edified by the level-headedness and the utter serenity with which she consented to this departure. I was equally edified by with the way in which she adjusted promptly to her new reality in Halifax, and basically just carried on where she had left off, maintaining long-distance friendships with the many friends she had left behind in Vancouver, editing Fr. Vincent Travers’ books, and doing everything she could to brighten the day of the people who constituted her daily life. I am very saddened by her passing on, as I am sure are saddened all those who came to know her and enjoy her ever so pleasant company here at St. Mary’s. The consolation in her passing is that we have yet another friend in Heaven, interceding for us. May God indeed “heal her of all her diseases, redeem her life from the pit, and crown her with steadfast love and mercy.”
A word on my own condition. I saw my surgeon last Thursday. He claims that my impressions to the contrary notwithstanding, all is well, and that the healing process is right where it should be. I will meet with him again in mid-April, and I will begin physiotherapy this week. Something to look forward to! He has confirmed with me that I will be on crutches, and therefore, with a mobility somewhere close to nil, until the end of April. The days go by, almost miraculously it seems, and every day that goes by brings me closer – I remind myself of this constantly – to normal life. I ask, nevertheless, that you maintain the prayers for me. I count on that more than on anything else. And I thank you for it.