A labour of love and blessing
By Kathy Gillis
It’s hard to know what to say in this, my final editorial. There are mixed emotions—sadness at the ending of a 30-year vocation, a labour of love and blessing; and a feeling of anticipation of things to come. What does God have in store for any of us?
This November, Scarboro missioners will move out of their central house on Kingston Road, their home for the past 94 years, where they first arrived as seminarians, were formed and sent out to mission; the place where they returned to on furlough, where they worked and did mission in Canada, where they shared hospitality and friendship; the place with memories of fellow missioners long gone.
The Spirit continues to lead as the Society enters a new phase in its journey of mission. Together with other religious congregations, Scarboro Missions is moving to Presentation Manor, a newly built residence in Scarborough. Collaboration, solidarity, and simplicity of lifestyle have been some of the hallmarks of Scarboro’s charism and will no doubt continue.
I am filled with gratitude for the learning I have received, for the many prophetic, Spirit-filled people that I have worked with and met while at Scarboro. I will carry them with me always.
I hope this issue does justice to the past 100 years of Scarboro’s mission history. There is so much to the Scarboro story both overseas and here in Canada. Even at 140 pages, it feels as though we’ve just scratched the surface. Thankfully I did not do this work alone. At my side the entire time was my husband and former lay missioner Danny Gillis. A gifted writer and amateur historian, Danny also brought his love for Scarboro and wealth of knowledge of its mission and charism. Every article without a byline was written by him.
We spent countless hours poring over archival documents with the help of Valerie Gauthier in Archives. We cannot thank Valerie enough for her efficiency and competency, for the historical documentation she compiled and shared, and the files and photos she provided. Montreal-born Valerie came to Toronto to obtain a Master of Information degree with a concentration in Archives and Records Management. Archivist Fr. Dave Warren was fortunate to welcome her to Scarboro Missions after her graduation in 2016. She is a treasure.
We were also greatly assisted by having access to digitized issues of the magazine going back to the inaugural issue in 1919 and available on the Scarboro Missions website. These provide an incredible 100-year history of mission.
There are so many people to thank. I’ll start with the brainstorming done by the larger Scarboro community at the 2016 and 2017 Study Days, and at the 2017 General Chapter. These ideas gained focus and momentum with the guidance of our Advisory Committee: Fr. Roger Brennan; Anne-Marie Jackson, director of the Jesuit Centre for Social Faith and Justice; and Joe Gunn, director of Citizens for Public Justice and author of Journeys to Justice—Reflections on Canadian Christian Activism. A wonderful group of gifted people.
Many individual Scarboro missioners and alumni contributed to and reviewed articles on missions where they served. I cannot name them all for fear that I might forget someone. Fr. John Walsh reviewed the planning schema and early drafts. Lay missioner Carolyn Beukeboom kindly helped with the big job of proofreading. We called on many people and all responded generously, especially the writers, all of whom were Scarboro missioners, alumni or associates with love in their hearts for this community and grateful for their experience with Scarboro Missions.
We can only hope that we have honoured this missionary endeavour begun 100 years ago by the esteemed founder, Msgr. John Mary Fraser.∞