St. Joseph Award Recipient 2014: Sister Alice Walsh, P.B.V.M.

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Sister Alice Walsh, P.B.V.M..
Sister Alice Walsh, P.B.V.M..

On September 1, 1993, and at the age of 65, Sister Alice Walsh P.B.V.M., began her appointment as Pastoral Minister at Our Lady of Fatima parish in Piccadilly, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Now at 86, Sister Alice has just concluded 21 years of uninterrupted ministry among the people of Piccadilly and surrounding areas on the Port au Port Peninsula of Newfoundland’s west coast.

Born in 1928 in Kilbride, St. John’s, Sister Alice grew up mainly in the Grand Falls-Windsor area of the province, where her father was a station agent for the Newfoundland railway. The young Alice entered religious life in 1948, and spent time as a postulant and then as a novice in the Motherhouse in St. John’s, before making her first vows and final vows three years later.

Before coming to Piccadilly, her work and ministry took her many places to serve in a variety of roles. For 37 years, Sister Alice taught at schools and served as principal in communities throughout the province including St. John’s, Corner Brook, Gander, Trepassy, Placentia and Harbour Breton. From 1989 to 1991, Sister Alice served as Superior of the Motherhouse in St. John’s.

Upon her “retirement” and completion of her studies in pastoral ministry, Sister Alice was asked to consider doing parish work on the west coast of the Island.

And so she came to Piccadilly – where her deep love for the area and its people is evident in her warm manner and loving pastoral care and service.

Sister Alice glows with the Light of Christ’s love in all she does – whether she’s visiting the sick and homebound in the homes, being present at wake services and planning funeral Masses, encouraging lay leaders, leading marriage preparation sessions, just chatting with people in shops or gently tapping people on the shoulder to say they’re missed at Sunday liturgy – and then welcoming them back the next Sunday!

Her door is gladly open to all. Many are the moms who’ve enjoyed her gentle wisdom in an afternoon chat and cup of tea; in her, heartbroken teens have found the guidance of a trusted friend and advisor – who also appreciates the importance of cookies and a soft drink after school. After all, how many 86-year-olds chaperone high-school dances?

Sister Alice has.

“Being available to parishioners in times of need,” she says, “is really a grace-filled time.”

Sister Alice, for so generously, cheerfully and faithfully offering that lasting and grace-filled time to the people of Piccadilly, thank you!

Anne Hanley with notes from Bishop Peter Hundt of Corner Brook and Labrador, and Catholic Missions In Canada files.