April 30, 2012

CALGARY – The Knights of Columbus is well known for paying tribute to priests. In fact, many councils dedicate one evening a year to honour their priests.

They call it Padre Night and it is a festive evening where priests are dined and wined and usually presented with gifts and kind words.

But what about religious sisters? At least one council honours sisters as well. For the past 33 years the Paddy Nolan Council 6994, associated with St. Luke's Parish in Calgary, has been hosting Sisters' Night.

This event is held in September to show the council's appreciation to the religious sisters of the Calgary Diocese "for their unselfish devotion and extensive work in the diocese," explains Grand Knight Bill Gurtler.

"Invitations are sent out yearly to all sisters in the diocese to be our guests at a dinner prepared by our own knights especially for them."

Over the years the council had had 40 to 60 sisters attend Sisters' Night, some coming from as far as Lethbridge.

The sisters like to dress up for this function and, as they arrive, the knights' wives present them each with a corsage. Prior to dinner they are offered refreshments and the opportunity to mingle a bit.

Dignitaries and knights from other councils also attend the function "but this being Sisters' Night, we request that any greetings be kept short."

"The sisters use this occasion each year to exchange experiences, moves and other matters," Gurtler said in an email.

"For some, this is the only occasion throughout the year that they get to meet. Near the end of the evening, each sister is presented with a long stem rose, compliments of our Brother Knight Evan Strong of Evan Strong Funeral Directors (Commemorative Services)."

Sisters Night is scheduled each year for the second Friday of September.


"September of 2011 was a special year as we had a number of sisters celebrating major milestones, including the Sisters of the Precious Blood celebrating 150 years," Gurtler explained.

"The Sisters of the Precious Blood are a cloistered (order) and have always thanked us but have refused our invitations. Because of this special anniversary, they did allow two sisters to attend.

"Because of this special occasion, Bishop Frederick Henry attended and bestowed a special blessing to the sisters. Our state deputy attended as well as a few other members from state (council). This was truly a special year."