Sister Christine Leyser received major award at Organic Feast

The third Ignatius Jesuit Centre award was presented on  Sept. 25  to Sister Christine Leyser, IBVM.

The presentation took place at the seventh annual Organic Harvest Feast on the grounds of the Ignatius Jesuit Centre.

Sister Christine made her final vows in 1954 with Tor­onto’s Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Loretto Sisters. After two decades of teach­ing elementary school in Ontario and British Columbia, she moved to the Loretto Convent in Guelph in the mid-1970s.

In 1983, Sister Christine opened the doors to the Wel­come Drop-In Centre. It pro­vides nutritious meals, friend­ship, support, and guidance to hundreds of Guelph’s neediest residents every day. In 1984, she opened the Dwelling Place to provide long-term, geared-to-income supportive housing, for about five individuals. She was also the driving force be­hind the opening of a men’s shelter, Stepping Stone, in 1986 and a shelter for women and children, Elizabeth Place, in 2003 and Yorkhaven in 1991.

On July 1, 2008 Governor General Michaëlle Jean, ap­pointed Sister Christine to the Order of Canada.

She was a vital part of the Ignatius Farm Community at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre. That group was home to men and women from prisons, and other difficult situations. She also open­ed a second community farm at the Centre called the Farm House.

“Christine’s strong leader­ship skills and her great com­passion were challenged to the limit in what was a very new way of life for her, but certainly rose to the occasion. “said Father Bill Clarke, S.J., spirit­ual director at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre. “She is truly an inspiring woman, and a great person to receive this presti­gious award.”

The Ignatius Jesuit Centre award was initiated in 2008 to honor a person or group whose action in the world flows from their Faith commitment; con­tri­bu­ting in a long term and ongoing manner to the Ignatius Jesuit Centre or larger community of Wellington and Waterloo Counties.

The seventh annual Organic Harvest Feast is set to take place this Saturday on the grounds of the Ignatius Jesuit Centre of Guelph. That event  sold out.

That fundraising event helps to support the work of the Ignatius Jesuit Centre of Guelph; home to Loyola House Retreat and Training Centre, the Ecology Project, the Igna­tius Farm CSA and the Plant an Old Growth Forest Project. For more information, visit http://­­about/­events.html.