After more than 100 years of providing an alternative to prison for troubled girls, Marymound’s the Sisters of the Good Shepherd are packing it in.
For 57 years Sister Brigid has called Marymound home, but in two weeks she'll have to leave.
“I don't like the thoughts in my heart to leave … I really don't,” said Sister Brigid. “If it's got to be done, it's got to be done.”
While Marymound will continue on, the four remaining nuns from the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, all over 60 years of age, have been called back to their mother house in Toronto.
For Sister Lorraine, the only Manitoban, saying goodbye is not going to be easy.
“Well, it's going to be kind of sad because I'll be leaving my family and the staff here,” said Sister Lorraine. “The staff have meant a lot.”
The sisters came to Winnipeg in 1911 and Marymound was formed
Early on they farmed potatoes and did laundry for hospitals to keep it running.
While their role here is not as hands-on as it used to be, their presence is still felt.
“There were times it was hard, but I think I always had a good relationship with the girls who were in care,” said Sister Florence. “Some of them still keep in touch with me today.”
April Lahn-Ladobruk knows that first hand. She lived at Marymound from age 12 to 17.
Now April is an outreach worker helping other girls.
“I think Winnipeg will be at a huge loss not having the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in our society on a daily basis,” said Lahn-Labobruk. “I think they're amazing women.
"The strength and the compassion and empathy that they bring to us here is more than anybody could ask for."
Left and leaving
When the Sisters of the Good Shepherd leave Marymound there won't be any other nuns taking their place, because there's only 31 of them left in Canada outside of Quebec.
The last time a woman took her vows to become a nun in their order was in 2010.
That nun was Sister Barbara. Although she found her calling later in life, she hopes her work at Marymound will have made a difference in the community.
“Saint Mary Euphrasia, who is our founderess, always said one person is of more importance than the whole world and that's how Marymound was built,” said Sister Barbara.
As they pack their things and prepare to leave, the sisters leave behind a legacy of love — one they hope will be carried on behind Marymound’s walls long after they're gone.
This Sunday there will be a tea party held in their honour at Marymound.
Anyone wanting to say goodbye can drop by between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
The Sisters officially leave Winnipeg July 3.