Sr. Mary Loyola

Marie Antoinette St. Onge

Born::  Hartford, Connecticut, 30/07/1917
Postulancy::Regina, Saskatchewan, 31/07/1939
Novitiate:: Regina, Saskatchewan, 01/02/1940
1st Profession:: Regina, Saskatchewan, 03/02/1942
Final Vows::Regina, Saskatchewan, 03/02/1948
Died:: Regina, Saskatchewan, 02/09/2007

Antoinette, the only child of her parents, Florence and Leo St. Onge, lost her father when she was only two years old. Some time later her mother married again and moved to Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan where the family was completed by the births of Mary, James and Raymond Christie. Receiving primary and secondary education in a small prairie town, 'Nettie' soon demonstrated a deep thirst for learning and a remarkable ability in expressing her knowledge. She attended Teachers' College in Regina and taught for a year in a country school where her natural talents for organization and teaching were honed in a classroom of nine grades. In 1939 Nettie joined the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions in Regina. With her entry into the novitiate she received the name Sister Mary Loyola of Jesus. Having pronounced her First Vows in February, 1942 she went to Lebret to begin a long teaching career, thirteen years in elementary school, six years in secondary school, and twenty four years in university, all in the province of Saskatchewan.

Over the years Sister earned university credits by correspondence and at summer schools until finally she was able to enter into full-time studies. At the University of Saskatchewan she obtained her Bachelor and Master of Arts in English and philosophy as well as a Master of Education, all the while winning many scholarships and awards. In 1966 she began her doctoral studies at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario where she twice was awarded a Graduate Fellowship and twice a Canada Council Doctoral Fellowship. In 1969 she was entered on the Faculty of Graduate Studies Honor Roll at Queen's and in 1970 completed her PhD in English.

Sister Mary Loyola's life was marked by a passion for teaching. At every level of education she was remarkable for the joy and enthusiasm which enlightened her presentations and the deep faith which inspired her interpretation of literature, history and the religion which underlay them all.

Sister was deeply loyal to her religious congregation and to the schools where she taught, Lebret Public School, the Separate Schools in Regina and Saskatoon, our Sacred Heart Academy in Regina, and above all, St. Thomas More College in Saskatoon where she served for a total of twenty four teaching years and an additional four years as managing editor to The Chesterton Review. St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Thomas More, William Shakespeare and Gilbert Keith Chesterton were undoubtedly major sources of inspiration in her life of prayer and learning. A second and surely equally strong influence was her family, her mother, brothers and sisters, eleven nieces and nephews whom she visited as frequently as possible.

When failing health required closer care Sister came back to Regina where she first lived in the Sisters' Residence and later in the Santa Maria Senior Citizens' Home. Because of injuries incurred in a series of falls, Sister was confined to a wheelchair and for some time quite actively roamed the corridors of the nursing floor and occasionally came downstairs to visit the Sisters in the Residence. Recently, however, she spent more time in bed or dozing in her chair and it was thus, on Sunday afternoon, September 2, 2007, she passed quietly to the Savior for whom she had been longing. She leaves a memory of wisdom and joy.

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