IBVM Sister appointed to the Order of Canada

On July 1, 2008 Her Excellency Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, announced the appointment of Christine Leyser IBVM to the Order of Canada. The award is Canada’s highest honour for lifetime achievement.

The citation awards this distinction to Sr. Christine for serving as a driving force behind several institutions that provide food, shelter and services to those in need, making her a pillar of her community and a beacon of hope for those marginalized in society.

Sr. Christine began the Gordon Street Drop in Centre in Guelph, Ontario with a small group of volunteers twenty five years ago in response to community need. The Welcome in Drop in Centre is located in the downtown area of Guelph, Ontario serving those most urgently in need due to homelessness, mental illness or other causes. Those who come to the Drop in Centre can expect to have basic needs for food and shelter attended to but more importantly, the Drop in Centre is a setting where those on the margins have an opportunity to experience table fellowship and a caring community.

The work flourishes because of generous voluntary donations and the participation of over 80 volunteers. Under Sr. Christine’s leadership the Guelph Drop in Centre expanded over the last two decades to provide emergency housing and a shelter for women and children. Yorkhaven, developed in 1991 is a non-profit housing development that offers a supportive community and 28 single suites for those using the services of the Drop in. Christine Leyser IBVM and Donata Dean IBVM are happy members of the Yorkhaven townhouse community.

Sr. Christine firmly believes that awards are not just for one person but for all the people connected to that person. She comments “I couldn’t do any of this without the people who help me. We’re a community”. The members of the IBVM Canadian Province join Sr. Christine in expressing sincere gratitude to all those who have supported the ministries of the Welcome in Drop in Centre over the years through donations and generous service.

The Order of Canada was established in 1967 to recognize outstanding achievement and service in various fields of human endeavour. The award is presented by the Governor General on behalf of all Canadians to recognize those who have demonstrated excellence, courage, or exceptional dedication to service.

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