"This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you. No one can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends, if you do what I command you. I shall no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know the master's business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father."

— John 15:12-15

Diocesan Messenger

December 2010
Catholic Foundation of Vancouver Island Sponsors an Important Spiritual Growth Opportunity by Margaret O'Donnell

The Catholic Foundation of Vancouver Island sponsored Oasis pilgrims to journey to Fraser Lake, BC from July 9 - 11, 2010 to attend the annual Rose Prince Pilgrimage on the site of the former Lejac residential school. Our carload joined hundreds of First Nations pilgrims for a weekend of prayer, sharing and renewal of our Catholic faith. Pilgrims travelled from across Western Canada to partake in a community event centered on Jesus, and the revelation of His love through our participation in the Eucharist, the Stations of the Cross and the Rosary.

Serenity and gratitude for the beauty of Creation flowed pilgrim to pilgrim as if a gift from Rose Prince herself.

This healing setting was a true spiritual growth opportunity for us all, but most particularly for our First Nations pilgrim, so familiar with sorrow, and so enlivened by contact with his Catholic roots and First Nations family.

Rose Prince (1915-1949) of the Carrier Nation was buried on this pilgrimage site, where her body remains uncorrupted. Daughter to Chief Joseph, Chief of the Carriers of Fort St James, Rose's grandfather was the great Carrier Chief Kwah. Her father, known as the "Church Chief," was a devout Catholic and went frequently to church, leading the prayers and singing, and translating for the parish priest. Rose inherited a profound love for Jesus from within her First Nations family and carried this love into the residential school in which she became daily more "at home."

Rose asked to stay on at the school as an adult and lived onsite until her death at age 34.

Rose was a woman of prayer. To Jesus she confided everything.

There, she lived an uncompromising love for Jesus through a hidden yet ever more intense love for the nuns and priests that equaled her love for her People, lived out through discreet and tender relations with the children who inhabited the school. Rose was a woman of prayer. To Jesus she confided everything—even the joys and the agonies of those who confided in her. To them she counselled: "Pray for those who wrong you."

The memory of her sweet presence remains uncorrupted as she continues to point pilgrims onto the path of the Beatitudes.

Among the Vancouver Island pilgrims was a descendent to the Carrier youth who in 1951 uncovered the body of Rose Prince. "Uncle Jack" told the story of how the coffin was accidentally opened, and of his terrifying teenage discovery of Rose's uncorrupted body. He told of loading the coffin onto a stone wagon, and bringing it down the hill to show Father Principal. "One by one, every priest and nun came out to view the sight," he said, describing Rose's body as fresh, "as if sleeping."

Later, we pilgrims searched down and found Elder Elsie Quaw on the reserve outside Vanderhoof. Elsie, classmate to Rose Prince, descendent of the great Carrier Chief Kwah, and Mother to Hereditary Chief James Jr. of Victoria, was overjoyed to have news of her long-lost son, and spoke tenderly of Rose.

We wish to thank the Catholic Foundation of Vancouver Island for such a very important spiritual growth opportunity.


"Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven."

— Luke 6:37


"Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate."

— Luke 6:36