After 104 years in Red Deer, the Daughters of Wisdom are receiving an official farewell on Friday.
St. Mary’s Catholic Church will hold a Mass of Thanksgiving at 7 p.m., commemorating the work of the French-founded congregation of nuns in the Red Deer region. It will be followed by a reception and program.
The Daughters of Wisdom were invited by Father Henri Voisin to the area in 1908 to help start Catholic education. The nuns at St. Joseph’s Convent also got involved in social justice and nursing, making a real difference to children and families in the community throughout the decades.
Their work continued even after St. Joseph’s School was shut down in 1960. The convent was rebuilt in 1978 and existed until most of the sisters had died or moved. It was finally closed and sold in 2005, replaced by the Views of St. Joseph condominium complex on the north hill.
But the last remaining Daughter of Wisdom, Sister Harriet Hermary, remained in the city until earlier this year, when she left Red Deer to reside with other members of her community in Edmonton.
“It’s the end of an era,” said Christine Moore, a member of the planning committee for the service. She is inviting everybody to attend to honour the work and legacy of the nuns.
Today there are 6,700 students in the Red Deer Catholic Schools, including Sylvan Lake and Olds.
Sister Harriet plans to return to Red Deer on Friday for the service, which will also be attended by two Edmonton Daughters of Wisdom. A scholarship fund, established in the sisters’ name, will also be announced.
For more information, call 403-392-1279.