Monday, January 24, 2011

One of Our Own in the Greatest Generation

Mother f Perpetual Help Monastery
Esopus, New York
Celebrating 60 Years 
as a Redemptoristine

Tom Brokaw has declared them to be "the greatest generation". These are the sturdy souls whose earliest years were often marked by the hardships of the Great Depression; whose youthful adulthood was given to defense of liberty; whose later years were filled with accomplishment produced by dedication and

Sgt. Peggy Banville
Canadian Women's Army Corps - 1945

faithful perseverence. Our Sister Peg is one of that generation. She is celebrating the 60th jubilee of her first vows in religious life. Never tall, always petite, she is now our small treasure, ailing but still so spirited, faithful and wise. After serving in the Canadian military during W.W. II and having had a taste of civilian life she went on a retreat only to be surprised by a call from God. She found it rather unbelieveable at first. Especially unbelieveable was the call to be a contemplative nun. But she never pushed it away. Much to the surprise of family and friends, she followed the call into the first Canadian Redemptoristine foundation then only a few years old. 

Toronto, Canada

Like most of the older members of our community, Sr. Peg has served in almost every  post in community including that of prioress for a number of terms.  She has been our representative at international meetings, become certified as a spiritual director ,  organized our archives, and continually enriched her mind. She was one of six young nuns who came from Canada to Esopus, New York in 1957 to make this foundation. So she is a pioneer.

One of six foundresses
of the Esopus monastery

Her favorite theological theme is that of the humility of God; a God who endowed created humanity with free will; a God who condescended to take on our mortal flesh, our fragile physical and emotional being for our sake that we might know the love of the Father, the energy of the Holy Spirit, and see the life of Jesus as invitation to transformation.

With author Madeleine l"Engle - 1990s

Sr. Peg's energy held yesterday through the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at which she renewed her "vows of proverty, chastity and obedience in the Church and for the world." She intends to continue to attempt each day to be a "living memory of Jesus Christ" in the true spirit of Redemptoristine life, the charism first revealed to Maria Celeste Crostarosa in 1725. We are so blessed to have a member of  "the greatest generation" among us today.  


Kathy said...

Congratulations Sister Peggy.

Thanks for this very insightful blog post. I learned things about my aunt that I didn't know before. And those pictures of her are great.

I remember coming to visit Aunt Peggy from Canada and seeing her behind a screen only. Later it was great to come and stay with the sisters. It has lifted my spirits and helped me though some tough times.

It takes a special understanding of God to commit to 60 years. It touches me that her favorite theme is the humility of God. Thanks for sharing this. I will contemplate on this theme too.

A big hug to Sister Peg and everyone there.

Wayne W Smith said...

I used to call her my greatest Aunt Peggy. Thank you for this blog post. It was very helpful on this day. While I am sad that she is no longer with us, I am glad that God called her and I am confident she is in a good place.

Sr. Hildegard said...

Lovely comment was accidently deleted. I paste it in here. Thanks Peggy.

"I never knew Sister Peg in life, but I still feel gifted by her spirit. Thank you for this posting, and I am honored to "share" her name. May she glory forever in the humility of God. Pax, Peggy Thompson (Syracuse, NY)"