The Institute of the Sisters of Service of Canada

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Camp Morton (1924-1988)

As the first Western Canadian mission of the Sisters of Service, it opened in August 1924 at the request of Archbishop Arthur Sinnott of Winnipeg. Fresh from Novitiate and first vows, foundress Sister Catherine Donnelly and Sister Catherine Wymbs, a First World War nurse, resided temporarily in quarters in one of the two-room buildings at the summer camp. Named after Monsignor Morton, the camp was located on the shores of Lake Winnipeg, about 100 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

Within eight days, Sister Donnelly started teaching at King Edward School No. 1 and Sister Wymbs, also the mission’s superior, served as the area’s community nurse. In October, Sister Margaret Guest arrived to teach in King Edward School No. 2. By January 1925, the trio moved into a newly-constructed house. A stable was built on the Sister’s property.

In 1937, Sister Alice Walsh began to teach at Bismarck School at Berlo, 10 kilometres from Camp Morton. Instead of travelling each day, the Sister-teacher stayed in the living quarters at the school during the week and return to Camp Morton for the weekends.

All three schools closed in 1967 and the students travelled by bus to the new larger school in Gimli. Sister Lena Renaud taught at Gimli Public School (1967-1983) and was the longest-serving member of Camp Morton from 1953 to 1988. Sister Catherine Donnelly retired to Camp Morton in 1956 until January 1981. The Sisters participated in community life, as well as providing catechetical lessons, sacramental preparation for the adjacent St. Benedict’s church.

In 1974, the Sisters gathered to celebrate their 50th anniversary of the founding of the mission and the 50th anniversary of the first vows of Sisters Catherine Donnelly and Margaret Guest. The mission was closed in 1988 with Sisters Lena Renaud and Margaret Murphy as the last Sisters in the mission.

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