In 1991 I took a three-year leave from my teaching position to pursue a Master of Religious Education degree at the Faculty of Theology of the University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto. This experience changed my life, and doors really began to open up. I got back in touch with the Redemptorists, many of whom were fellow students with me at the Faculty of Theology, and this time, the connection grew. I had the opportunity to work for three years on S.E.R.V.E., and also to be part of the team that envisioned and planned for the Redemptorist Youth Mission Team.
The life-changing moment for me came while I was preparing for my first S.E.R.V.E. The Superior General of the Redemptorists was Fr. Juan Lasso, who had a wonderful gift for helping others to identify gifts and for calling us into greater collaboration with Redemptorists. He happened to be visiting Canada, and each night for almost a full week, he would come to visit the S.E.R.V.E. team at Gerard House. We would sit together, and he would spin a globe and stop it with his finger, and wherever it stopped, he would tell us stories of the Redemptorists who were about the building up of God’s reign in that part of the world. I was in awe; he even knew their names! And I thought, “In such a work, perhaps there might someday be a place for me.” I longed for the day when that might be true. Little did I know that it had already begun!
From 1991 until now, although I have worked back in Newfoundland for varying periods of time, the Redemptorists have really been the means through which I offer my service to the Church. I was a member of the Redemptorist Youth Mission Team for three years, and have been part of several different mission preaching teams. I am honoured and delighted to serve with Fr. David Louch, C.Ss.R. as co-chair of the Lay Collaboration Commission of the Edmonton-Toronto Province, and for the past 18 months I have been a member of the Pastoral Team at Holy Redeemer Parish in Sudbury, Ontario. I feel a little like a Newfoundlander in exile, but any sacrifice is worth the joy of being part of the Redemptorist family and the privilege of working alongside Fr. Tom O’Rourke, Fr. Ray Corriveau, Jon Hansen and Brother Francis. In January 2003, just over a year ago, I made my commitment as a Lay Missionary of the Most Holy Redeemer, and this mutual commitment between me and the Redemptorists of the Edmonton-Toronto Province has been a good thing for all concerned. One thing is for certain, I don’t always know where God is leading me, but I am truly grateful for the wonderful journey that I have been on, and for the people with whom I am called to share it.