Many busy days have kept me from posting here. A chunk of time has be devoted to educating myself about web sites, domain names, domain servers and navigating a trial download of web creation software. It is all for the cause but very time consuming.
In the meantime...this post begins a
Meet the Sisters Series
Allow me to introduce Sister Margaret (Peg) Banville, contemplative nun in
the Order of the Most Holy Redeemer
I was the token Canadian who came on the foundation to Esopus in 1957. I was Sr. Mary Gemma back then and I never expected to leave Toronto where I was born and raised. But God is full of surprises. I was born in 1925 and grew up during the depression. After high school I worked as a stenographer until my 18th birthday and then enlisted in the CWAC. Except for my basic training, the whole of my 2½ years as a soldier were spent as a stenographer in the Pay Office of the large Depot in Toronto - the only woman of a staff of fifty men! By the time I was discharged in 1946 I was a sergeant.
I surprised myself when I entered the convent in 1949. I received the first glimmer that I might have a vocation to religious life when I made my first retreat in 1947. During another retreat I had a dream that told me I must enter the Redemptoristines—a contemplative Order!!! With much fear and trembling, and with encouragement from friends, I entered and exactly one year later I received the red and blue habit. My profession of final vows was made at our new location in Barrie, Ontario, on January 23, 1954. Almost 4 years later, the convent was overflowing with new vocations and I became part of the group of 6 Sisters who made up the foundation of Esopus in 1957. A big surprise!
One of the wonderful surprises of my life was when I was also elected as our delegate for the second General Assembly of the Order in 1982. This took me to a beautiful setting on a mountain overlooking the Bay of Amalfi. In the two weeks we were there, the delegates did the final work on the process of revising our Constitutions – a process which began in 1966 as mandated by Vatican II. The new document incorporated many of the insights of our foundress, Ven. Maria Celeste Crostarosa.
Today, I am the oldest member of the community. My health is not so good any more, but I feel loved and respected by the community and can still serve in small ways. I thank God for calling me to be a Redemptoristine and I pray for the gift of final perseverance. In 2001 I celebrated my golden jubilee of profession—years in which I experienced many surprises.