Sr. Emilie Knippshild

Sr. M. John

Born::  near Lac Pelletier, Saskatchewan, 4/2/1915
Postulancy::Regina, Saskatchewan, 28/5/1935
Novitiate:: Regina, Saskatchewan, 1/2/1936
1st Profession:: Regina, Saskatchewan, 3/2/1938
Final Vows::Regina, Saskatchewan, 2/2/1944
Died:: Regina, Saskatchewan, 6/2/2014

Known affectionately as "Millie", Sister was born in a sod hut near Lac Pelletier, Saskatchewan, sixth in a family of four girls and five boys.  Her parents, Joseph and Anna (Hope) Knippshild, were both born in Westfallen, Germany and came to Canada at the turn of the century, bringing with them a strong faith in God and a healthy determination to educate their children.

Millie attended the local country school and then the Arcola town school, where some of her studies were by "correspondence".  She was also trained in hair dressing - a gift she later shared generously with her friends.

In 1935, in response to her earnest desire to serve Jesus and His mother Mary as a missionary, Sister joined the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions in Regina.  There, at her reception of the "Holy Habit", she experienced joy so profound the memory of it remained as the high light of her life.

Having obtained her Teaching Certificate, Sister taught first in Wolseley and then at Sacred Heart Academy in Regina.  In 1944 she was diagnosed with tuberculosis and subsequently spent twenty-two years in various T.B. sanatoria in Saskatchewan and Manitoba where, with fellow patients, staff and visitors she was always faithful to her missionary calling to speak of Jesus "in season and out of season".  At Millie's funeral one of the mourners was a woman who, at the age of nine, had been in the "San" with her and still remembered with affection and gratitude the support "Sister Mary John" gave her both spiritually and in her loneliness.  During this time, when her health permitted, Sister developed her considerable talent for painting as well as carrying on an extensive and life-long correspondence with friends and other Sisters.

Millie was allergic to the drugs which eventually provided a cure for tuberculosis, but surgery and rest were finally effective and she was able to return to community after an absence of twenty-two years.

As Millie's strength improved she began to "update" herself in religious studies, psychology, and art.  The charismatic movement struck a strong chord in her heart and she attended several seminars and conferences on the subject.  To speak of religious matters was as natural as breathing to Millie and when she moved from Lebret to Regina in Saskatchewan, then to Dauphin, Brandon and Elie in Manitoba, and to Pinewood and Rainy River in Ontario she was involved in parish ministry, the Legion of Mary, the apostolate for the elderly, Bible study and prayer, groups, renewal programs for youth, and, of course charismatic prayer.  

Interspersed with such an active life there were short courses, retreats, and other studies.  The second high point in Millie's life came in 1991 when she went to visit England, Ireland, France, Rome - where she attended a renewal program designed for senior religious - and, the major event, a visit to the Holy Land.

Coming back to Canada, Sister went into parish work for a year in Raymore and then returned to Lebret in the Qu'Appelle Valley and for five years entered into the apostolate of prayer and spiritual direction. Her final move was to the Sisters' Residence at Santa Maria Senior Citizens' Home in Regina where she continued an intense life of prayer for nearly six years before going into nursing care in the Home.  Here she continued to edify visitors and caregivers alike by the simplicity of her faith in and devotion to the Lord and His blessed Mother.  

Sister died peacefully around 10 p.m. on February 6, 2014, two days after her ninety-ninth birthday.  May she rest in peace.


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