In Sync and In Praise

Our Graduates Are Exceptional

studentsEvery year in November SCCS reaches out to our recent alumni to verify that they are succeeding at their high school of choice. This year, the reports were as expected. High School Principals reported that:

  1. Our grading scheme is in sync with those of the high schools. For example, students who achieve 70% here will continue to do so at the high school level. Similarly students achieving 90% here will continue to do so at St. Paul’s St. Mary’s, Linden Christian, Westwood, etc.
  2. The majority of our students are honor roll students in high school. Generally, all but a few of our students maintain academic honor roll.
  3. Socially our students are well prepared, more so than most. The examples offered included the fact that our students don’t form cliques or find the transition difficult. Statements in the reports included “it was a seamless transition”, “ students from SCCS easily integrate into many groups”, “they get involved right away”.

There is no doubt about it. The culture at SCCS is unique and our graduates are exceptional!

How Sweet the Sound

SCCS students perform in honour of Year of Mercy

Last November our Principal was in the Vatican attending an Education Congress together with over 1000 other school leaders. At the conclusion of the congress, His Holiness, Pope Francis, reminded those present that Catholic schools are to be Christ-centered communities where students can encounter transcendence and genuine relationships. With that in mind, he shared his hope that students would get beyond school walls and mingle with people as “it is from the peripheries that reality may be understood”. He ended his talk by imploring those working in schools to make the jubilee year of mercy really count in each school community.

And so we did.

The performance of the Musical Cantata culminated a full year of our SCCS students, ages 5 through 12, going outside the walls of comfort and interacting with others in a genuine exchange. We stepped outside the boundaries of our Archdiocese, outside of our neighborhood. We joined with people of different generations, different faiths, and different cultures in a meaningful way. We learned diverse music, created holy doors and spent time in the Ukrainian cathedral, an architectural masterpiece. We interacted with the poor and the homeless. And with each new encounter, the students who began the journey as followers, gradually have become the teachers and the leaders.  It is with that foundation of enriched experiences that they, with youthfulness, joy and enthusiasm proclaimed the gift of mercy on the evening of November 15th, 2016.

cover5The Musical Cantata to Celebrate the Year of Mercy project actually started quite simply – with Fr. Geoffrey Angeles and a few school staff, namely, Mrs. Kathy Lalonde, Mrs. Aneta Prettie, Mrs. Kim Furutani and Dr. Penny brainstorming. And, in true St. Charles’ style, it grew quickly into a much bigger project – bigger than most tiny, elementary schools like ours could ever  imagine taking on!

Soon we were reaching out to Sr. Lesley Sacouman and Imee Guttierez at House of Peace, Steve Denby and his Bisons Men’s Chorus, Msgr. Buyachok, rector of the Cathedral of Sts. Vladimir and Olga….well, to make a long story short – check out the Winnipeg Free Press story attached below!

Dr. Penny began the event that evening with a short introduction:

“…..We chose this cathedral in part for its inspiring architecture….these beautiful arched ceilings symbolize the little bridges that were built from one community with another this year…like one heart string at a time! Once you hear this program, you will understand why we are grateful these organizations joined together and are with us tonight…..The programming is rife with symbolism, beginning with the men leading the way and eventually following the children’s lead, the children providing learning opportunities and the Friends from House of Peace bringing everyone together in prayer…”

She was followed by a short introduction to the mission of House of peace by Imee Guttierez, Program Coordinator for House of Peace. Imee shared that “12 years ago, Holy Names House of Peace was born.  Within the House of Peace is Neighbours, an intercultural, interfaith, safe home for newcomer women who have come here because of poverty, war and/or abuse.  These courageous women show us the way. They teach us to love one another as they want to be loved. Mercy is God’s name. Mercy lives in the House of Peace. This evening is also a celebration – of thanksgiving, of joy and love. It is a celebration of lives shaped by mercy. Where better to celebrate, than in a church of such utter beauty that it is in itself a testament to the resilience of merciful people touched by God’s mercy.

A video of the entire Cantata as well as a “highlights” video may be found on the school website

“God’s mercy can make even the driest land become a garden, can restore life to dry bones (cf. Ez 37:1-14). … Let us be renewed by God’s mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish.” — Pope Francis’ Easter Urbi et Orbi message on March 31, 2013

Free Press Article below posted: 11/12/2016

How sweet the sound

Mass choir performs in honour of Year of Mercy

By: Brenda Suderman
Posted: 11/12/2016 3:00 AM | Comments: 0



Students from St. Charles Catholic School rehearse a cantata on the theme of mercy to mark the end of the Roman Catholic Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Adults often struggle with how to express or even define mercy, but Amy Hildebrand, 10, has a firm grasp on what the concept means in her life.

“I’ve learned anybody can have mercy,” explains the Grade 5 student at St. Charles Catholic School.

“You have to learn to have mercy, to not be rude, don’t yell, (and) be polite.”

Hildebrand and 100 classmates at the west Winnipeg private elementary school present a cantata on the theme of mercy to mark the end of the Roman Catholic Jubilee Year of Mercy. The hour-long free concert begins at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 15 at Ukrainian Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral of Sts. Vladimir and Olga, 115 McGregor St.



Faith Page Story: Students from St. Charles Catholic School rehearse cantata on theme of mercy for upcoming House of Peace shelter performance.

See Brenda Suderman story.Nov 03, 2016

Featuring a mass choir of 100 middle school and junior high students, the Bison Men’s Choir, and readers from the House of Peace, the concert of hymns, prayers and readings concludes a year of intensive study and practical learning around the concept, explains principal Anne Penny.

Catholics around the world celebrated a special Year of Mercy from Dec. 8, 2015 to Nov. 20, 2016 at the request of Pope Francis, and many churches and cathedrals designated an entrance as a door of mercy. Penny says the Pope specifically encouraged Catholic educators to bring this year alive for students.

“We’ve worked really hard to get them outside our school community, so they can see other people, other communities, other realities,” she says.

That effort to get beyond themselves included field trips to House Peace, a downtown residence for women in transition, student music performances at St. Mary’s Cathedral, and visiting other community agencies.

That real world experience broadened the concept of mercy for students in practical ways, explains Grade 8 student Paige Quick.

“Mercy is about helping people and having empathy for other people,” she explains.

“It helps me make better choices because you’re thinking about mercy for the last year.”

Mercy also includes working together for something bigger than oneself, a concept music director Kathleen Lalonde says is exemplified in the upcoming performance, which has the Bison Men’s Chorus provide harmonies for the school choir in several songs.

“We asked them to join us in a concert… where they are becoming part of us in the community,” explains Lalonde, who also teaches music in the public school system.

“Music is one of those things that brings people together.”

Serving others through music has always been the mandate of the Bison Men’s Chorus, a community choir of 44 affiliated with the music faculty at the University of Manitoba, explains director Steve Denby.

“It’s just a natural fit to sing with kids, to be in ensemble, to sing with another director, to give back to the community,” says the choir, band and guitar teacher at J.H. Bruns Collegiate.

“We want kids to experience what it is like to be in a big choir in a beautiful building.”



Faith Page Story: Students from St. Charles Catholic School rehearse cantata on theme of mercy for upcoming House of Peace shelter performance.

See Brenda Suderman story.Nov 03, 2016

The location also excites Hildebrand, awed by the 34 stained glass windows, and the 17 murals on the ceilings and walls.

“My favourite part of the cantata is being at the beautiful church and walking through the doors of mercy,” she says.

“Every single window tells a story. I like looking at the windows.”

Just as mercy is a collaborative effort, so is a concert like this, says Penny, who wrote the script for the cantata. Instrumental parts were arranged by Michael Cutler, organist at Crescent-Fort Rouge United Church, and Rev. Geoffrey Angeles of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral helped children understand the theological meanings in the songs.

She says the year-long process of studying the many aspects of mercy — sometimes characterized as compassion or kindness — has opened up the eyes and hearts of students, as well as shaping the culture of the school and the larger community.

“We use a lot of words correlated with (mercy), such as empathy, forgiveness, kindness, charity, for one another,” say Penny, who holds a doctorate in music education.

“It’s that deep love when you’re kind to someone just because.”


Jesus, my new BFF

The Grade 2 classes joined together to celebrate friendship. But not just any friendship! Each child was asked to reflect specifically on the statement “Jesus is my friend because_______”.

Each child wrote his/her response and the documents were posted on the front bulletin boards. When all was ready, the students and their teachers invited all the parents to join them for a special prayer service. Together they sang, shared and prayed. All left the ceremony with a renewed sense of Jesus as Friend, the center of a community of friends.

Grade 2 Friendship Celebration

The gathering relocated to the cafeteria where friendship bracelets were made, snacks shared and great conversations had.

Christian Service Day

– the Alpha and Omega of SCCS servant leadership

From the moment children enter St. Charles Catholic School, they can feel the difference. People are welcoming, helpful, caring, kind-hearted and open to others. This environment was established by the Oblates from the very beginning, and today we are thankful that this charism still permeates the very foundation of our school community.

Building a loving community is work, and at SCCS that work never ends. We pray every morning for those in our community, and we offer our hands to help those in need. Christian Service Day is more than just a symbol of giving of self, it is an expression of our commitment to truly “make a difference” in the world, one set of hands at a time. Now in its 5th year, the students and staff of SCCS look forward to spreading joy out to the greater community.


Grades K-2 – Created cards and gifts for shut-ins.

Grade 3 – Cleaned the common play areas for the little ones

Grade 4 – helped clean at St. Charles Church

Grade 5 – helped clean at OLPH

Grade 6 – helped clean at SJ23

Grade 7 – helped at Welcome Home, followed by a visit to House of Peace

Grade 8 – Helped the Sisters of Charity in their soup kitchen, followed by a visit to House of Peace


Estote Fidelis!

The Word of God is Alive and Active

Whoever thinks that Word of God isn’t energizing has never attended the SCCS Grade 4 Bible Celebration! With 42 students and their families in attendance, it was truly spirit-filled.

On this special day, the Grade 4 students spent time with Nancy Wood at the St. Charles Retreat Center. Ms. Wood is a trainer for Good Shepherd Catechesis and a popular retreat master for the Archdiocese of Winnipeg. Together with the Grade 4 classes, she explored the various books of the Bible, the calligraphy associated with original handwritten Bibles, and several poignant Bible verses. Each of the students was tasked with creating a beautifully scripted and colored rendition of his/her favorite Bible verse.

By evening, the students were ready to share their excitement with their families. The service began with a procession, prayers, readings and songs. Fr. Peter Nemczek, Archdiocesan Vocations Director,  shared his personal experiences with the Bible and blessed all of the Bibles. The highlight of the evening came when each family stepped forward to bless their grade 4 student and present him/her with a personal Bible. Tears of happiness were seen on more than one face as children beamed while parents shared their own faith experiences in a tangible and very real way.


The evening ended with a reception hosted by the Grades 1-3 classes. In faith and in gratitude we belong to the SCCS community!

Our hearts and prayers

… go out to the Ugrin family on the passing of Albino. Edith, his wife, was our school librarian and archivist for over a decade. Several of his children are SCCS alumni.


Date of Passing: Aug 27, 2016

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Albino on Saturday, August 27, 2016 at the age of 85 years. Left to mourn Albino are his loving wife, Edith, of 57 years of marriage; sons, Edward (Cathie) and Brian (Sandy); daughter, Patricia (Scott) Smith; six grandchildren, Heidi (Paul) Ouellette, Bryan (Meghan), Teo and Elio Ugrin, Thomas and Kasey Smith; great-grandson Henry Ouellette; as well as his sister-in-law Ines of Muggia, Italy; and many nieces, nephews and cousins in Italy and Slovenia. He was predeceased by his parents; his five brothers; five sisters, and grandson Lucas Ugrin. On April 1, 1931 Albino was born in San Querico di Pinguente, Italy, now Socerga, Slovenia. He was the youngest of 11 children born to Josef and Ana (nee Palcic) Ugrin. On July 11, 1954, Albino left Trieste, Italy and arrived in Canada on July 22. He met Edith in January 1957 while attending a dance and they were married in July 1959. While learning English, he worked at various jobs and at Canada Iron from 1958 to 1962. Albino attended trade school and became a Journeyman Bricklayer until 1967 at which time he changed jobs and worked as a custodian at Tuxedo Shaftesbury High School until retirement in 1991. Albino loved and enjoyed life. His children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were his passion, only ahead of his keen interest in politics and world affairs. He cooked and danced very well and enjoyed both tremendously. Albino and Edith also travelled, sharing several journeys to various points in Europe and North America. He will always be remembered by his family and friends as a kind and gentle person. Albino lived a very full and long life. Funeral Mass will be Celebrated in St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church, 255 Stafford Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba on Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. with Rev. Fr. Joe Newman, S.J. presiding. The family wishes to thank Dr. K. Burkett and his team at St. Boniface Hospital for the care provided to Albino. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to St. Boniface Hospital Research Foundation, C1026-409 Taché Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2H 2A6, or a charity of your choice. Wojcik’s Funeral Chapels & Crematoriums, Winnipeg, 2157 Portage Avenue, 204.897.4665

As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on Sep 03, 2016


SCCS Lost A Star

On September 5, 2016, Sr. Alice Arnal passed away.

img_2937 Sr Alice taught music  at SCCS for 22 years. A fine pianist, Sr. Alice was also a prolific composer, especially of sacred children’s hymns. Several of her works were included in the hymnal “Catholic Book of Worship I”.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that Sr Alice came out of retirement to accompany the SCCS Violin Ambassadors for a series of community performances. She ignited the group with her enthusiasm and lively keyboard touches, and vibrant interpretations of the standard repertoire.

Sr Alice modeled the Oblate charism in all that she did and her unique mission to spread joy through music animated her to the end. Only a day before she passed, she treated her fellow residents at Misericordia Health Centre to an impromptu piano recital/ sing-along.

Eternal rest, grant unto her, O Lord. May she rest in peace. Amen.

ALICE ARNAL Lundi, le 5 septembre 2016, S. Alice Arnal fit son entrée à la maison du Père à l’âge de 91 ans. Elle était membre de la Congrégation des Missionnaires Oblates de Saint-Boniface depuis 68 ans. Alice naquit à Fannystelle, MB, le 8 avril 1925. Son père, Marcel Arnal, était natif de Hures, Loyère, France, et sa mère Bernadette Lalonde était originaire de Sainte-Justine, cté Vaudreuil, QC. Elle fut précédée dans la mort par ses parents, trois demi-soeurs, Jeanne (Joseph Dupras), Marguerite (Emile Syrenne) et Cécile (Aimé Dureault), cinq demi-frères, Paul (Etiennette), Marius, Gabriel, Auguste Arnal et Léon (Berthe, Jessie) Morisset. Elle laisse dans le deuil un frère et une belle-soeur, Emile et Doreen Arnal, leurs trois filles: Carole (Norbert Tanguay), Joanne (René Rivard), et Marina (Brian McCallum). Elle laisse aussi deux belles-soeurs, Marguerite et Marthe ainsi que plusieurs neveux et nièces et leurs familles. Les prières seront lundi, le 12 septembre 2016 à 10 h à la chapelle de Villa Aulneau, 601 rue Aulneau, Winnipeg, MB. Les funérailles seront célébrées à 13 h 30 au même endroit. L’abbé Léo Couture présidera la célébration. L’inhumation des cendres aura lieu au Cimetière Saint-Boniface, rue Archibald, mercredi, le 14 septembre 2016 à 11h00. La direction des funérailles est confiée au salon Mortuaire Cropo. Les Missionnaires Oblates de St-Boniface désirent remercier toutes les personnes qui lui ont procuré des bons soins à la Villa Aulneau et à Misericordia Health Centre. Si vous le désirez, vous pouvez faire un don en mémoire de Soeur Alice Arnal à Les oeuvres des Missionnaires Oblates de St-Boniface, Unité 111-420 rue DesMeurons, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2H 2N9. SISTER ALICE ARNAL Sister Alice Arnal passed away at Misericordia Health Centre in Winnipeg, on Monday, September 5, 2016 at the age of 91. She was a member of the religious Congregation of the Missionary Oblate Sisters of St. Boniface for 68 years. Sister Alice was born in Fannystelle, MB, on April 8, 1925. Her father, Marcel Arnal, was born in Hures, Loyère, France, and her mother, Bernadette Lalonde, originated from Sainte-Justine, cté Vaudreuil, QC. She was predeceased by her parents, three stepsisters, Jeanne (Joseph Dupras), Marguerite (Emile Syrenne) and Cécile (Aimé Dureault), five stepbrothers, Paul (Etiennette), Marius, Gabriel, Auguste Arnal and Léon (Berthe, Jessie) Morisset. She leaves to mourn her passing the members of her religious congregation, one brother and sister-in-law, Emile and Doreen Arnal, their three daughters, Carole (Norbert Tanguay), Joanne (René Rivard), and Marina (Brian McCallum). She also leaves two sisters-in-law, Marguerite and Marthe as well as numerous nephews and nieces and their families. Prayers are on Monday, September 12, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. in the chapel at Villa Aulneau, 601 Aulneau, Winnipeg, MB. Funeral service will follow at 1:30 p.m. at the same address. Father Léo Couture will preside the celebration. Interment of the ashes will take place on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. in the St. Boniface Cemetery on Archibald Street. The Missionary Oblate Sisters of St. Boniface express their sincere appreciation to the staff at Misericordia Health Centre and Villa Aulneau for their care and compassion. Donations in memory of Sister Alice Arnal may be sent to Les Oeuvres des Missionnaires Oblates de St-Boniface, Unit 111-420 DesMeurons St., Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2H 2N9. CROPO FUNERAL CHAPEL 204-586-8044

As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on Sep 10, 2016


Auntie Alice had a passion for music. Showing promise as a young child, her parents bought her a piano to help develop her talent. Perhaps they would have loved for her to have studied music abroad but her heavenly father had different plans for her. As a nun, she now had many sisters and her brother and sister-in-law, Mom and Dad, would share us kids with her. She was our family and we were hers, as she wrote in her obituary.

As her nieces, I am sure she felt a responsibility to educate and guide us, particularly in the areas of music and religion. She taught us piano lessons each Saturday afternoon at St. Charles Academy where we would visit with our grandma. She attended every sacrament and milestone in our family adding her personal prayers at grace and even guided us in our wedding preparations always providing the music.

Our aunt was a force to be reckoned with. She had a way of looking at the situation objectively. There was no time for sadness or regret. She saw what needed to be done and devised a plan to accomplish it. That was Auntie Alice. She was always helping others.

Music was a focus in her vocation. Beginning as a music teacher, she led choirs at school and in the church community. Her role expanded to include work with the Winnipeg Diocese and was a contributing member of the first CBW, Catholic Book of Worship for Canada. Even as a senior, she embraced technology and saw how it could serve her in her music ministry. The result was a coil-bound book of children’s songs that she composed on her computer.

Indeed, it can’t be said enough that music was her gift to share but was also her device to communicate with others and manage her world. Through her teaching, she inspired many and their interest and accomplishments were her greatest reward.  Our holiday gatherings always included Auntie Alice’s accounts of the sweet voices, the new musicians and instruments added to the celebration, and the participation and contribution of so many.

Auntie Alice had few worldly possessions but one was that piano. Knowing our children were expressing an interest in music and taking lessons, she called one day to ask if we would take her piano. It was a generous offer, once again showing her attention to need and how she could help. It sits in our home and continues to “sing” on a regular basis.

Even out of province, Auntie Alice would periodically call us to say hello and to inquire about the kids. That was her way. She knew the importance of family and took it upon herself to keep in touch with family, both east and west, sharing the news from home.

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