The Feists, Sr. Theresa and Sr. Bernadette. Photo from Archdiocese of Regina

Sister nuns retire together

By  Alan Hustak, Catholic Register Special 
  • October 18, 2023

The director of Valley Native Ministry in Saskatchewan’s Treaty 4 territory for the last 40 years, Sr. Bernadette Feist and her older sister, Sr. Theresa, both Ursuline nuns, are retiring. 

The siblings have been well known for decades in the Qu’Appelle Valley east of Regina for their volunteer work.

“It is too early for interviews,” said Sr. Bernadette. “We are retiring but we aren’t going anywhere until next June.”

Sr. Bernadette also  chairs the Lebret Museum’s board of directors and last year was awarded the Queen Elizabeth (Saskatchewan) Platinum Jubilee medal for her work with the File Hills First Nation.

Sr. Theresa helps run Too Good to be Threw, a second-hand store in the village of Lebret, the site of the first Roman Catholic mission in what is today the Archdiocese of Regina. 

“Sr. Bernadette has made a monumental contribution to people of Lebret and the region, and to relations between Indigenous people and the Catholic Church,” Archbishop Donald Bolen said. “When the time comes that she leaves the work, she will be greatly missed. Sr. Theresa has been a life-giving presence to all who have met her. Her spirit has been a great blessing to us all.”

The sister nuns grew up with eight brothers and two other sisters on a farm in Berthel in northwest Saskatchewan. They attended St. Angela’s Academy in Prelate,  a Roman Catholic girls school which was once run by the Ursuline Sisters.  

Sr. Bernadette taught school in LaLoche for eight years before moving to Fort Qu’Appelle in 1979 where she was a lay minister at Our Lady of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church before being named by then Bishop Charles Halpin as director of the ministry he designed to build and heal relations with Indigenous peoples in Treaty 4 territory. She has lived and worked out of Lebret since 1992.

Sr. Theresa taught in a number of schools throughout the province for 17 years, then moved to Winnipeg where she was involved with holistic ministry for another 18 years before coming to Lebret in 1989. 

Both will retire to a home in Saskatoon next year where Sr. Bernadette plans to write a book about her experiences in native ministry.

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