Lasha Morningstar


September 26, 2016

Tears slip down my cheeks at the most inconvenient times. All of a sudden the fact my precious Sister Annata has left comes to mind.

Sister Annata Brockman has reached the stage in her life when it is time for her to return to her motherhouse in Halifax.

For whatever reason, I had never anticipated this. In the past 25 years she has always been there.

I first met her when colleague Paul DeGroot recommended I call her when I was beginning my spiritual journey to Roman Catholicism.

Sister Annata became my godmother. She also became my friend.

As our friendship deepened, she took the place of mother, sister, best friend.

She was always just a phone call away. Every birthday was remembered with a dinner. The same with Christmas.

Those penetrating blue eyes would look at me across the restaurant table, and I would share whatever was happening in my life.

She was the one who was always in my corner, no matter what the situation.

I am not the only one to feel this way. Going out to dinner with her was fraught with interruptions. Time and again, a fellow diner would come to our table to say hello. Past students, their faces wreathed with pleasure as they reconnected with their former teacher.

Oh how Sister Annata loved her students! Her final five years here in Edmonton were shared with the pupils at Sister Annata Brockman School. Each week she would meet with the youngsters, children to whom she was devoted.

They were also the subject of stories she would tell me over the dinner table.

I can only guess how much the young students are missing her too. To some, she must have taken the place of their first mother or grandmother. Such a loss.

That she is a woman of faith is an understatement. Her allegiance to priests, brothers, archbishops, popes is unshakable. She shared her faith with authority, an authority which cemented our friendship.

This is a wise woman. With just a few questions she could discern the root of a problematic situation. Then it was up to the listener to resolve the situation.

Her family is the light of Sister Annata's life. She was always full of stories of her brothers and sisters and their offspring.


Theirs was a loving family. Sister Annata would tell me of her father who would come in from the fields at the end of the day, turn on the music, sweep his wife up in his arms and dance her across the floor.

Sister Annata was accepting. She knows how much my dogs mean to me. She would explain that dogs on the farm were not the revered pets we city folk tend to make them.

Yet each and every dinner, she would set aside a goodly portion of her food for the waiter to package up for me to take home to my dog.


As I write these words, I know this brilliant woman has been a blessing to so many in their time of need. Both her door and heart were open.

I shared my life story with her, facts that I have never told another soul. She listened, and I could feel a blanket of caring envelope me.

"I'll never let you be hurt like that again," she would say. Her compassion makes it so.

True, she is only a letter or phone call away. But looking into those wise eyes and seeing her face soften into a glorious smile washed away many a care, many a worry.


One of my favourite memories happened many years ago. I took Sister Annata out on her birthday, and in honour of her German heritage, twe went to a German restaurant. An accordion player wove his way through the tables and began his German tunes. Sister's eyes shone and she broke into song.

Yes, I miss her already. But what a gift she has been to my life and to countless others!

I know she will take that caring spirit to her Halifax motherhouse. They are blessed.

(Lasha Morningstar