Sr. Mary Charles

Phyllis Green

Born::  Winnipeg, Manitoba, 01/09/1931
Postulancy::Regina, Saskatchewan, 08/09/1951
Novitiate:: Regina, Saskatchewan, 25/07/1952
1st Profession:: Regina, Saskatchewan, 26/07/1953
Final Vows::Regina, Saskatchewan, 26/07/1963
Died:: Winnipeg, Manitoba, 07/01/2006

Phyllis was the fourth child of Harold and Edna (Doucette) Green. She, her brother and three sisters walked some distance to attend St. Edward's School where the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions taught. At the end of her elementary school Phyllis went to St. Mary's Academy, a catholic high school for girls in Winnipeg. At twenty, after a few years of working as a telephone operator, she entered the novitiate in Regina. Her sister, Evelyn Green had made profession in the Congregation the year before.

Having completed her novitiate, Sister Mary Charles was sent successively to Sacred Heart Academy in Regina and at St. Michael's Academy in Brandon to teach the Commercial Course offered there. From 1958 to1963 Sister Mary Charles was sent to Wolseley, Saskatchewan; Sacred Heart Academy, Regina and St. Joseph's Convent, Saskatoon where she studied and was responsible for doing the laundry. In August 1963 she was sent to St. Edward's Convent, Winnipeg, in her home parish, where she lived and worked until her death.

During her forty-three years at St. Edward's Convent, Sister Mary Charles was involved with the poor and needy in Winnipeg. For many years, she collected day-old bread, other foods and clothing, which she distributed to families, who greatly appreciated the help. Every year she prepared countless Christmas hampers. She became a regular contributor of knitted caps and mittens to the Christmas Cheer Board, an organization that provides warm clothing and toys at Christmas to families who cannot afford them. She visited many families and shut-ins. Her love and service of the poor was boundless.

Another of Sister Mary Charles cherished activities was teaching English to immigrants who were not able to follow regular classes. Many are the New Canadians who are grateful to her for their ability to communicate in English.

Sister Mary Charles' was a regular visitor in the hospitals and the nursing homes in Winnipeg and St. Boniface. She always showed great compassion for the sick. In community she was the first to notice that someone was not up and about on any morning and she checked to see if the person was ill. Having found out what was wrong she made sure the Sister had all she needed.

Sister M. Charles' interest in the neighborhood was remarkable. She seemed to get to know everyone. This became most evident to the community when news spread that she was hospitalized. Enquiries and concern came from all sides. People of the neighbourhood of all religious and ethnic backgrounds came to the prayers and funeral, or offered their sympathies from the back lane or by telephone. They had memories and stories to share of her goodness to them.

Many neighbours came to know her as she worked in the garden. Her love of flowers, especially of her roses, and her joy in making the yard beautiful enhanced our lives.

Community relationships were not always easy for Sister M. Charles. Her forthright and blunt manner often hid her compassionate heart and made for difficulties in relationships. On the other hand she was deeply loved by many Sisters and persons outside of community who had come to know her more deeply. We all enjoyed her delightful dry sense of humor.

For the last year or more, Sister M. Charles was showing signs of not being well. However, doctors did not seem to be able to find what the trouble was. It was a surprise for everyone when, at the beginning of December, she was diagnosed with bone cancer. The cancer had spread extensively and was judged terminal. During five weeks in the hospital she suffered intense pain although all was done to help control the pain with medication. On the first Saturday of January, Our Blessed Mother, whom she loved so much, came to get her and bring her home.

On January 10, Rev. Msgr. Louis J. McCloskey, a friend of the family for many years, presided at the celebration of the Mass of the Resurrection in St. Edward's Church and at her burial at Assumption Cemetery. She is greatly missed by us, the members of her community and by her many friends. May she rest in peace.

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