My brothers and sisters:
On behalf of the Archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas, I express my deep sorrow at the news of the 215 children found on the grounds of the previous Kamloops Residential School. This news has made fresh again the pain for all affected by the legacy of Residential Schools. There has been an outflowing of emotion: anger, dismay, grief, sadness. I have experienced all these emotions in myself as well. I want to express my deep apology and profound condolences to all the families and communities affected. I think this news has increased all Canadians’ understanding of our Residential School history.
As a Catholic Archdiocese we have run workshops such as Returning to Spirit, Grief to Grace, and Healing Soul Pain to work at healing and grieving for those suffering from the Residential School legacy. We are helping provide counselling for those looking for that kind of support. If you are looking for counselling, feel free to contact our Office (204 623 6152) and we will help arrange support for you. We will continue to provide and participate in various opportunities for healing.
In the history of our Archdiocese we had seven Residential Schools. We will do all we can to provide what information we have on our gravesites. During the TRC our records were turned over to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We commit to help with identifying the children that passed at our own Residential Schools.
All of us have had deep emotions surface within us as this wound is scraped again. I remember one indigenous man on his healing journey who sought to meet with the Religious Sister that had abused him. He traveled all the way to Quebec and when he went to the Convent he found that that particular Sister had already passed away. Two young Sisters sat with him, listened, and wept with him. These Sisters had not been directly involved with the Residential Schools. Despite not being able to confront his abuser, these two Sisters helped him make some peace with what had happened to him. I think in the days ahead we are all called to be like those two Sisters to members of our families, Churches and communities.
The most important thing now is to pray and listen. Only God has the power for real healing. We invite Him into this pain again.
Please pray for me. I am praying for you.
With faith, hope and love I remain,
Archbishop Murray Chatlain
Archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas
**One counselling option provided by the Archdiocese: Summer Thorp at 1 877 606 6784 ext. 5.