Ministries Program Weekend – October 2017

The new Team worked together during the October Ministries Weekend, it started Friday evening with a Sharing Circle and a social hour to visit and share snacks.

The new Ministries team of Paul Robson S.J. and WimDombretS.J. and Tony BaranowskiS.J. with Mary Balfe were the facilitators for the sessions.    

We had a session related to Aboriginal Culture and Spirituality and Hymn and prayers in the language. 





Saturday morning we had a session guided by Fr. Wim S.J. and Mary Balfe. Then, Fr. Wil guided a prayer.

After lunch, Fr. Paul S.J. shared with us: “Dialogue and Proclamation” for the Ongoing formation group. 

Margaret Toulouse shared with us: “Medicine Wheel”.

Rosemary Pitawanakwat guided Rosary prayers, and Rosella Kinoshameg guided a Ojibwa hymm.

A practicum session: “Smudging, Music, readers, Ministers of the bread, cup” was guided by Rosella Kinoshameg.

The weekend ended with Fr. Tony S.J. saying mass followed by Dinner and Dismissal.

A retreat for spiritual growth…

From time to time, to perceive one’s interiority with more attentiveness, a time of retreat, in a tranquil place away from the busyness of the world, can be very helpful.  One may make a retreat with some regularity, perhaps once a year, as a kind of “plateau” space of rest and renewal on the journey of life.  A retreat can be helpful to one appropriating a transition in one’s life.  It can be helpful to one who is making a major decision, such as one’s vocation.  For whatever reason, it is always a privileged time for God and the retreatant to abide together.


An Ignatian retreat is an extended period of time in silence with prayer in the manner handed down from St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491 – 1556).  St. Ignatius developed spiritual exercises from the experience of his own prayer and from his guidance of others in their experiences of interiority.  For St. Ignatius and the others whom he guided, finding God’s will for the direction of their lives was of paramount concern.  Ultimately, that meant discovering what truly gave their lives meaning, freedom and a deep sense of joy.  Today, Ignatian prayer helps people from all walks of life find their God-given deepest desires. Following this way can lead to freedom and fulfillment, while, at the same time, serving God, others and all of God’s creation.


Ignatian retreats may be made over one day, a weekend, or an eight day period. Eight days is a common length of time for an annual retreat.  For one with little or no experience of an Ignatian retreat, a spiritual director, or a guide who is experienced in Ignatian prayer, is necessary for retreats of any length.  The role of the spiritual director is to help facilitate the communication between the retreatant and God, not to replace it!  Once or twice in a lifetime, one who has already made Ignatian retreats may experience the full Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola through a directed long retreat of thirty days.


If you wish to book a retreat call us at:

(705) 869 4994


History of the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre

Inspired by the vision of Vatican II, the Jesuits decided to encourage Native people to direct their own Church. In 1972 Michael Murray sj, Dan Hannin sj, James Farrell sj, and Lawrence Kroker sj began a training program for the Deaconate.

Supported completely by Vatican II Council Father, Bishop Alexander Carter, the native Deaconate Program started. Once a month, a resource team moved from village to village for weekend workshops. Sisters Patricia Hassett csj and Dorothy Regan csj were key support members of the team. They facilitated these sessions that covered scripture, theology and the pastoral practice of ministry. This continued from 1972-1979 but distances and fatigue called for a change and so it was time to build a more permanent location.

Jesuit Provincial, Fr. Bill Ryan, fully affirmed the development of the Centre through a process of discernment. After much exploration, the former resort property at Anderson Lake just south of Espanola, Ontario was finally purchased and the building of the Centre could begin. Fr. Mike Murray, working with master log and timber-frame builder Paul MacNab, spearheaded the task of constructing the present-day buildings while Lawrence Andrews of the Whitefish River First Nation mastered the stonework. White Pine trees were cut a few miles down the highway at Lang Lake where the Knights of Columbus’ Summer Camp was located. The Centre had its own sawmill manned by Fr. Kroker and Henry Andrews. Volunteer labour came from the villages and sometimes families on building bees. The main building was completed in 1984 with the construction of the Chapel wing. Some small, original cottages were either demolished or renovated while other new cottages were built.

Once the Ministries weekends commenced Fr. Carl Starklof sj animated the monthly weekends for eighteen years, coming from Toronto’s Regis College where he was a Professor. He accepted remuneration for only his expenses, which allowed the Centre to continue the program, cost effectively.

Capital and Operating funds for the Anishinabe Project came from a number of sources. At the time of the land purchase, Fr. Farrell was the Jesuit Mission Superior who directed charitable donations to the Centre and also fundraised specifically for this purpose. Generosity in the form of both grants and loans was extended from the area Bishops and the Catholic Church Extension (aka Catholic Missions in Canada). The successful appeal to Government grants was also a key factor for the training of log and timber-frame building by Paul MacNab.  All these components resulted in the erecting of the buildings. Further government grants and fundraising events supported ‘make work’ projects on an as-needed basis throughout the process.  The Anishinabe Spiritual Centre officially opened its doors in June 1985 with a ceremony and blessing from Bishop Carter.



The Place of Enlightening


In Thankful recognition of those who came before us

Spring is the time of year when planting seeds and watching them grow is a most  loved pass-time. At the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre, we take the time to thankfully  acknowledge the people who planted a different kind of seed that also grew and  came to fruition. We begin with the founding visionaries who dared to imagine a  place of such refuge long before a building was in place. 


Making it Real

But that was just the beginning!  A dream needs people in action to become real and  there were many who answered the call.  From the financial gatherers to the laborers, the cooks, cleaners, craftsmen and suppliers, they all contributed. 

Everyone joining together and pouring out their expertise, time and energies into the building up of something special. 

Imagine the countless conversations, challenges and triumphs that must have taken  place with such a project.  We are so grateful that with each new day there came the  gathering of more people that persevered, shoulder to the plow, making it all possible. 


Generations upon Generations

To the many users that come to the Centre and continue to grace our doorsteps and  populate our rooms and cottages we thank you.  Your ongoing support in our services, retreats and programs are a gift to us.  It is because of you that we can continue to keep our doors open and offer rich experiences in such a beautiful and natural setting.  It is on account  of all the people that have come before us that we  now take such enjoyment and feel such heartfelt gratitude.

And so we have come full circle.  From the planting of the visionary seed, to the labour intensive cultivating of a Retreat Centre, to the harvest of people gathering to  enjoy the spiritual growth and healing benefits that come from the wonderful place  that we call the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre. 

All together, for the gathering of All.

Year of Mercy

By Tarcia Gerwing

Pope Francis has encouraged us to look more deeply at the Mercy of God this year. What a beautiful call that is!   I am finding that call deepens as we meet together in small groups as we did a few weeks ago at the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre.  To begin again to look to Jesus as the Face of God’s Mercy and to hear from one another how faithful Jesus has been for each of us calls us into a deeper intimacy with 

Jesus not only as individuals but as family.  

This kind of familial friendship deepens and helps us become more open to sharing our daily life experiences of mercy and together we become more and more aware of mercy experiences in daily life and also increases our gratitude!   What great gift community offers us!  But wait, that is not the end of the gifts faith sharing offers us!  As we hear from one another how the gift of a friendly smile or a gentle caring word has transformed the week or even the life of someone in the group, God awakens us to the wonder of small acts of love!  This becomes an awesome call for us to be more attentive to show mercy to others in so many little ways.   Pope Francis say to us,”Never underestimate the power of small acts”.  He also reminds us that mercy has many names. Tenderness, compassion, forgiveness… many beautiful names! 

Let us never underestimate the power of small groups!  They create family!  And we are called together to become the welcoming, merciful family of God!   We are called to be the Face of Mercy today!   May The Spirit of Jesus lead us deeper into the Heart of Mercy!


Migwetch Tarcia!

The Anishinabe Spiritual Centre thanks Tarcia

Gerwing for coming to the Manitoulin District (Sagamok, M’Chigeeng and Wikwemikong) 

to invite deeper spiritual development in the communities around the Year of Mercy 2016 and Pope Francis’ urgent call to take  Care of our Common Home ( ‘Laudate Si’).

Jesuit Volunteers Canada is a ministry of the Society of Jesus in English Canada which offers young people the opportunity to live and/or work with Jesuits promoting justice and peace.

The challenge to Jesuit Volunteers is to integrate their Christian faith with community life and apostolic service, drawing on the spiritual tradition of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits. Jesuit Volunteers Canada offers the volunteers a year or more of experience that will open their hearts and minds to live always conscious of the poor and the earth as they participate in a broader movement, toward a new way of talking about and living church.


Pastoral Cycle

What are the Seasonal Colors of the Church?

In Ordinary time the color is green ;

Advent colors are pink or blue and violet;

at Christmas and Easter  we use white ;

at Pentecost and for Confirmations we use red :

Special Solemnities/Feasts we use gold. 

This includes the vestments the priest and deacon

wear as well as the altar cloths.


Within Native tradition we are incorporating

the use of the 4 colors

(red. yellow, white and black)

buckskin vestments and altar cloths with beading.

Also we make use of the drum in the music.

Dianne Musgrove – Liturgy


Basil Johnston Memorial

A special day of celebration for Bail Johnston was held on June 4, 2016 at the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre, beginning with a Memorial Mass of Thanksgiving in the Big Chapel.  Family present was introduced, followed by a short biography of Basil and “Who was He?”  Basil was Anishnaabe author, fluent linguist, scholar and teacher from Cape Croker, who attended Residential School in Spanish. Basil wrote about the Ojibwe language, tradition and culture, and was the author of 25 books in English and five in the Anishnaabemowin language.  He translated the scriptural readings and regularly proclaimed them at St. Mary Catholic Church in Cape Croker.  Basil died at Cape Croker on September 8, 2015.

Berdina Johnston, in Ojibwe, spoke about this “language Specialist”.  Excerpts about his experience in giving the valedictory address from Indian School Days and “Offering Tobacco” and how the Anishnabeg never forgot to offer tobacco from Ojibway Ceremonies were read.  The people then headed for Cabin #6 for the blessing, smudging, naming ceremony, and uncovering of the sign made by Leonard Cywink.  After the ceremony,  everyone went back to the dining room to enjoy a pot luck dinner.



Creator God, Kitchi-Manitou, Debenjiged,

we thank you for bringing us together.

We gather to name and dedicate this cottage in tribute to Basil Johnston,

our relative, friend, teacher and elder.

May this cottage, which we name in his honour,

always be used for your glory and praise,

and for the good of all the people who come here.

Father, we offer this prayer through Christ our Lord.

Meegwetch, Meegwetch, Meegwetch, Meegwetch.

Joy to the world!

By Fr. Gerry McDougall

On the holy night when Jesus Christ was born, the angels of God brought good news of great joy to poor shepherds, who camped in the fields about Bethlehem, watching their flocks: their Saviour and ours had come!  The shepherds went to the stable, the humble place of Jesus’ birth, and reverenced the miraculous child, Emmanuel.  They told the angels’ message to his mother Mary, to his guardian Joseph, who listened to them in wonder and awe.  After their amazing encounter, the shepherds went forth praising God.

Christmas is a feast of great joy for the world, when we remember in thanksgiving the Saviour’s birth in our own lives, our own hearts.  In recent years, Pope Francis has shown us, in words and actions, the joy that is central to the good news of faith by which we live.  We have seen and felt joy through the special angels of our own lives, who have brought the good news to us: the deep, sincere and unwavering joy in the hearts of people like DOS Rose Peltier, who passed away in May, and DOW Clara Trudeau, who passed away in December.  Like the shepherds in the fields of Bethlehem, poverty of spirit prepares the human heart to receive the good news these angels bring, by word and deed, good news of joy that sends us on, to move forward, seeking the incarnate presence of Christ in the world, in our neighbour, in ourselves.

Encountering Christ today, we find him in the joyful, but also the sorrowful of the world.  The suffering of victims of war, of refugees, of the politically and economically oppressed, of the religiously persecuted, of the victims of disasters, must always be forefront in our hearts.  The daily struggles of those living with abuse, with addiction, or with illness, physical or mental, beg the light of Christ.  Grief for the loss of loved ones challenges superficial attempts to create Christmas happiness.

These realities of our times call us to bring the good news we have heard with love in all of its dimensions.  Like Mary and Joseph, we are called to love with compassion, mercy, patience and fidelity.  With the Holy Family, we must always put our trust and hope in God, the Creator who loves each one of us without measure, and see every human being truly as a sister or brother of Jesus.  The good news of Jesus Christ is for all people, and all creation.

As we go forward to the feast of the Nativity and beyond, may the love of God renew in our hearts the joy, hope and peace of Christ.  May we be amazed, in awe and wonder, of the salvation God has given to us.  May we bear the message of angels, that Jesus Christ is born, to the many whose lives he wants to touch and heal.


Native Ministry’s Workshop for Parish Councils – Nov 25/26, 2016

Year of Mercy – Loving our Neighbour

At the Waaseandimikaaning September board meeting it was decided to include the sharing of the story of the Solidarity visit to the Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casa and the Indigenous peoples of Chiapas, Mexico to celebrate the legacy of Bishop Samuel Ruiz trip, and to share this more broadly with those in local Native ministry at the parish level, while engaging the concepts of de-colonization of native ministry, and sharing local faith based activities with one another.

A committee was struck with a rep from each major community. A pamphlet was designed to send by e-mail and regular mail to DOS and those in the Ministry program to distribute to councils as far north as Thunder Bay and east to Garden Village. The brochure was sent at the end of October from the office. 


Highlights from the weekend are:

We began a New Church Year – ADVENT 2016

We shared community-based activities with one another (resources, children’s sacraments, liturgy, music, fundraising, bulletins, outreach, etc.)

We explored a path for future cooperative initiatives.

We explored de-colonization in the Native Church of Canada (Chiapas presentation)

We facilitated small group conversation on 1.) Liturgy   2.) Community Building 3.)Administration   which led to encouragement and inspiration for future initiatives.

We introduced the Pastoral Cycle as a process for decision-making.

We created an Advent wreath with each person adding cedar to the wreath.

An Advent Wreath Prayer was shared with participants, for them to take home to their parishes.


Who was there?

  • Six DOS members were present: Rosella Kinoshameg, Debbie Ense, Pauline Toulouse, Dianne Musgrove, Marjorie Trudeau, Marjorie Spanish
  • 20 members from 4 parish communities: Sagamok, Birch Island, M’Chigeeng, Wikwemikong.
  • 3 Jesuits: Fr. Gerry McDougall, Fr. Tony Baranowski, and  Fr. Philippe Landenne.


What did people experience?

 “I think the weekend inspired our parish to work together, … all the communities realized how much teamwork is needed to keep our parishes up and running, and that the sharing time and coming together was vital. By getting together, it has made us a bigger/closer community, by involving new parish members to see what happens at our ministry weekends. The members from our church were very glad to have attended.”

Debbie Ense – Immaculate Conception Parish M’Chigeeng


“As a floater among all small working groups, I experienced the rich dialogue among the members of each group and how they were sharing ideas of various activities in their own communities and showing the pride in carrying these out to help out in whatever they could or they saw what needed to be done.”

Rosella Kinoshameg—Holy Cross Mission



“The topic for our group was “Administration” .  For Administration we discussed a) Parish Council Leadership;  b) Meetings;  c) Bulletins d) Building Maintenance e) Church Records. For most Parish Councils there is no designated chairpersons. The committee is made up of parish community members who show up for the meeting. For other Parish Councils there are chairpersons who are appointed or elected  by the Parish Community.  Parish Councillors are nominated and voted in by the Parish community.  Some church staff are paid a stipend. Most meetings are held on a regular basis, at least once a month. Church bulletins and Public Announcements are usually written by the church secretary.  Building maintenance seemed to be a concern for all parishes especially the heating of the church for the Sunday services.  Most parishes fundraise to pay for the high cost of heat for their churches. Another concern that the group seemed to find difficult is to get a handle on is how to maintain Church Records.” 

Pauline Toulouse —St. Raphael Parish



Participants were inspired by the work parishes are doing to keep the heat on in winter and faith alive among the people’

The parish representatives communicated clearly with one another. Their sharing helped to reassure the good work being done and to give clearer direction to volunteers on how they might make changes in their parish.

Sharing of Scripture in the language at mass is possible in all parishes.

Through Friendship Cafés, brunches, and bingos the parish gives back in community building and sharing food.

Networking in the community is a bridge to those healing from loneliness, loss, bereavement, abuse, and issues such as the missing and murdered Aboriginal women.”

The participants left the weekend more informed and deeply inspired hearing the faith life and discerned actions of our indigenous neighbours in Chiapas.

The weekend provided: opportunity to connect, to belong, to listen and to understand and to lift each other up. We will gather again!


Remembrance Feast – September 10 – 2016

For the Late Fr. Michael Stogre and deceased ASC community members

On Saturday, September 10/16, a memorial mass was celebrated honoring Fr. Michael Stogre and local community members who  have been involved with the ASC since its beginning.

Among those named at the ceremony were Charles Shawanda, Dominic Eshkawkogan, Fr. Maurice and Fr. Michael Strogre.

After mass, we blessed and dedicated cabin 3 and named it after Fr. Stogre. The plaque, which was designed and made by Leonard Cywink, celebrated Fr. Stogre’s life as a physician, writer, priest, hockey player, and hunter.

The afternoon closed with a potluck supper of wild game and traditional foods.


In Remembrance

Sam Debassige,Deacon                Fall, 1981

Duncan Desmoulin, Deacon                February 8, 1991

Angus Neganijijig, Deacon                March 23, 1992

Dominic Eshkakogan, Deacon October 9, 1994

Rose Fox                                        April 24, 1996

Richard Sayers, Deacon                April 6, 2001

Dennis Wawia, Deacon    June 6, 2001

Agnes Webkamigad, DOS    January 5, 2002

EmerickShigwadja, Deacon    July 14, 2002

Marjorie Misibinijima      November 29, 2003

Coleman Trudeau, Deacon     December 10, 2003

Fred McLeod, Deacon    May 10, 2010

Gladys Eshkakogan, DOS    February 5, 2011

Delma Cooper        October 11, 2011

Martin Assiniwe      November 26, 2013

Lyda Mishibinijima      July 3, 2014

Gerry Ense        October 13, 2014

Millie Desmoulin      January 28, 2015

Rose Peltier, DOS      May 20, 2016

Charles Shawanda      June 26, 2016

Beatrice Lake, DOS      August 17, 2016