On October 23, Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul, their associates, Providence Motherhouse staff, PVI staff and PVI subtenants, gathered at PVI and the Providence Motherhouse to celebrate the official opening of the Village’s new walking paths.
When the Sisters set out to create Providence Village, care of the earth and responsible stewardship of resources, including a commitment to the preservation of green spaces, were key components of their vision. The Sisters have a long history of environmental stewardship and care, and they wanted to ensure this legacy would carry on within the Village. Part of this commitment extends to the cultivation of community gardens and walking paths, fostering the preservation of our lands and neighbourhood forest in a shared and harmonious setting.
At the walking paths celebration, Sister Jeannette Filthaut, with insights from Sister Patricia Ann Ryan, shared some interesting history about the trees and land.
“In 1930, when the Sisters [of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul] bought the property on which we are standing, there was a beautiful ash tree already beginning its long journey with the Sisters. When the Sisters celebrated their 150th anniversary in 2011, this same ash tree was the largest ash tree in the City of Kingston, at over 100+ years. Sister Mary Roberta, a woman from Montreal who had no exposure to farms and didn’t know anything about farming, was tasked in 1945 by the General Council, of which she was General Treasurer, with looking after the grounds. Being a woman of great initiative, she connected with the people who would give her the knowledge and the expertise to plant more trees on the property of 1200 Princess St.”
Sister Mary Roberta, with the help of other Sisters like Sister Patricia Ann, and employees of the Sisters, planted many of the trees that surround the walking paths.
Sister Jeannette then went on to dedicate the new trifold bench from the wood of the ash tree that dates back to before 1930 in memory of Sister Mary Roberta and her creative landscaping of these historic grounds.
Sister Patricia Amyot closed out the remarks at the ceremony with a heartfelt prayer and blessing, offering a poignant tribute to the new walking paths.
Creator God, we ask your blessing on this walking path. We also ask the blessing of all who have gone before us; all our deceased Sisters, and especially, Sister Mary Roberta. Sister did so much in the early years planting trees on this land to create a peaceful haven. May this walking path we bless today be a source of healing, peace, hope and new life for all who will walk on it. May this path help us to remember that we are all one with all of creation.