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SPENCE, Sister Mary

June 23, 1921 – Hallady, Alberta
January 4, 2019 – Calgary, Alberta

Sister Mary Spence, a Sister of Charity of St. Louis for seventy-six years, passed away at Providence Care Center in Calgary at the age of 97.

Mary was born on a farm in Halliday, Alberta, growing up with five brothers and three sisters. As a Sister of Charity of St. Louis, she professed her religious vows in 1942. Her ministry as an educator, spanning over fifty years, was rich and varied: school teacher (Medicine Hat, AB); novitiate formation (Medicine Hat and Edmonton, AB); rural catechetics facilitator (Calgary, AB); religious education consultant (Brooks, AB); pastoral work (Lethbridge, AB and Claybank, SK); and spiritual director (St. Albert, AB). In her retirement years, Mary remained involved in retreat, parish ministry, bible study, and spiritual direction. Most recently, she made her home at Providence Care Center in Calgary where she willingly shared her gifts of music, song, and art with staff and residents.

Mary loved gardening, sewing, music, reading, playing cards, and doing crossword puzzles. She will be remembered for her love of family, her deep faith, her great spirit of generosity to life’s invitations, her practical wisdom, and her quick wit which she retained and shared till the end. She was loved and appreciated by all who had the privilege of knowing her.

Sister Mary will be lovingly remembered by her SCSL community, her brother, Thomas (Win), and numerous nieces and nephews and their families.

Mary was predeceased by her parents, William and Margaret (nee Bottoms); brothers, Louis, Jack (Gwen), Edward (Joan), Bernard “Bud” (Pat); and sisters, Teresa Spence scsl (her twin), Rita (Jim) McDonald, and Patricia (Elmer) Babb.

Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church (640 – 19th Avenue N.W., Calgary, AB) on Wednesday, January 9, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. Reception to immediately follow in St. Joseph’s Parish Hall. Graveside service to follow at Queen’s Park Cemetery.

If friends so desire, memorial tributes can be made directly to Elizabeth House in Calgary (a current SCSL ministry), Mailing c/o Pastoral Centre, 120 – 17th Ave SW Calgary, AB T2S 2T2, Telephone: 403-228-9724, elizabethhouse@calgarydiocese.ca. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com.

We are grateful to the staff at Providence Care Center for the loving care given to Sister Mary these past three years.

In living memory of Sister Mary, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Chapel of the Bells, 2720 CENTRE STREET NORTH, CALGARY, AB, T2E 2V6, Telephone: 403-276-2296.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Jan Rosgen (Novy) & family :

    Mary has been part of my life since 1965 in Medicine Hat; a continuous friend, no matter the physical distance or time passed. She & our family ended up living in the same apartment building in Brooks, giving even more opportunity for close connection. She’d moved in the very same day in Oct, 1972, that we brought one of our daughters home after birth. She babysat for us; so kindly and delightfully and there were many fun times together. Her sense of humour & practical nature was greatly appreciated.
    Over the years Mary visited us wherever we were living and sometimes stayed with us. Those were treasured times; always so comfortable, as it is with old friends.
    I’m grateful for the many long phone calls; the last one quite recently. Her peaceful acceptance of whatever her life contains is an inspiration.
    Mary was and IS a blessing. Thank you, Mary!

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  2. Patti McMahon :

    Mary was my Dad’s first cousin. I first met her, along with Teresa, when I was a high school student. They traveled to Oregon to visit their Aunt Rose, my Grandmother. I had the opportunity to meet and spend time with Mary and Teresa several times through the years. It was always such a special time – especially for Dad, as Mary and Teresa were the family members from Canada that he he had the most contact with as he grew older. Also, I will always be grateful to Mary as she passed a lot of family history on, sparking my interest in genealogy. Rest in peace, Mary. I am so grateful….

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  3. Roisin Spitzig :

    I remember Sr. Mary with much love from working with her in the pre-Novitiate program with the scsl in Lethbridge. Her gentleness and caring towards all will be remembered and celebrated, along with her gift of music which she shared willingly. My prayers are with her family and I will continue to remember Sr. Mary and Sr. Theresa in my prayers!

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