Our Story of Truth & Reconciliation
at St. Mary's
The president of St Jerome's University, Katherine Bergman, encourages Father Toby Collins to develop a relationship with Anishnabeg Outreach in Kitchener so that a relationship might be formed where truth and reconciliation can take place with St Mary's parish. Tammy Webster is contacted at Anishnabeg Outreach and an invitation is extended by Tammy to an upcoming event where community partners are going to build a Teaching Lodge.
Stephen Jackson and Tammy Webster welcome Fr Toby Collins, Fr Joseph deVivieros and some parishioners from St Mary's Church to their location at 236 Woodhaven Road in Kitchener. These visits included: A tour of their facility and introduction to the on-site Reconciliation Garden, Wampum Belt, Healing Lodge, and Teaching Lodge.
Visits to Anishnabeg Outreach by the leadership at St Mary's to spend time getting to know the staff there and various forms of healing Spending time with Indiginous Elder Gerrard to learn more about the past and the teachings he was graciously willing to share Participating in a Pipe Ceremony at Anishnabeg Outreach the day after the unmarked graves were found in Kamloops, BC.
St Mary's Truth and ReconciliAction Circle is formed and meets every second week to foster healing and educate ourselves about Truth and Reconciliation with the help of Indigenous People recommended to us such as Stephen Jackson and Elaine Endanawas. Richard Olsen is asked to lead the Circle.
Under the guidance of Stephen and Elaine new initiatives begin at St Mary's to help the parish move forward with Truth and Reconciliation such as:
- touring a virgin forrest near Breslau to learn more about Indiginous Medicines and our common connection to the land
- fundraising on Orange T-Shirt Day to help Indiginous Peoples learn the art of beading
- the installation of a Native Garden in front of the church with native plants, a giant turtle made from rocks, and a Wampum Belt.
- displaying the 7 Grandfather Teachings and pairing them with the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit.
- working to feed Indiginous Peoples in our area by arranging a free lease of 10 acres of land owned by the Diocese of Hamilton and growing food on that land together.