A Legacy of Retreat and Renewal
May 18th, 2017
The little cabin at Amyot Lake has been a retreat for the Oblates serving in the dioceses of Prince Albert and Keewatin Le Pas for the last 25 years or so. Lovingly built by Bp. Sylvain Lavoie, Fr. Eugene Warnke, and former Oblates, Claude Sheehy, John MacDonald, and maintained in recent years by Fr. John Zunti and others, the cabin sits in the south-west corner of the Prince Albert National Park. It has been a place of rest and renewal, a place for Oblate meetings, and of course a place of prayer. It has also served as a berry-picking base for many years for Fr. Albert Ulrich.
In recent years Amyot has seen fewer Oblates visit, and maintenance has become a little more difficult, and so the question of the future of the cabin arose. As the cabin sits on leased Crown land, and as we are a charity, transfer to another charity was seen as the best option. Over the last few years various charitable organizations were approached but in the end none were able to take on the property with the lease.
Then at a Saskatchewan district meeting in November 2016 we invited the Oblates and the Associates to help us in our search for a suitable group, and JoAnne Chrones suggested we contact Katelyn Roberts, the co-founder and executive director of Sanctum Care Group in Saskatoon. Sanctum a relatively new organization, offers hospice care and respite for people living with HIV/AIDS in a city whose HIV rate is 2-3 times the national average. Katelyn immediately saw the potential of Amyot as a place of retreat and renewal for the residents of Sanctum, many of whom have never been on a vacation let alone a retreat.
On a visit to Saskatoon in February, Ken Forster, Jim Bleackley and I had an opportunity to stop in at Sanctum and meet some of the residents and staff there. It was clear to us that the care being offered at Sanctum encourages healing not only of body, but of mind and spirit as well. Sanctum seems to be a place where spirits are lifted and where people, through the care they receive, come to see who they are in eyes of God.
In early May the transfer of the property was completed and Sanctum’s volunteers are busy working to ensure the building and property at Amyot Lake is ready for the Sanctum residents who will begin to arrive already this summer. The Oblates are very pleased to know that the cabin at Amyot Lake, built by sons of St. Eugene who have spent their lives serving Christ in the poor, will contribute to the good work of healing and renewal offered by Sanctum for many years to come.
To learn more about the work of Sanctum visit their website at www.sanctumcaregroup.com
By Ken Thorson, OMI
God bless you!