Sister Annata Brockman, who brought hundreds of people into the Catholic Church and was considered by many Edmonton-area Catholics as a living saint, died this morning, October 25, 2016. She was 89.
Sister Annata was a teacher, principal, parish worker and counsellor to the sick and dying who often said, “Nothing I do is important except what God does through me.”
She was born in Middle Lake, Sask., on Sept. 7, 1927, the eighth of the 12 children of farmers Paul and Louise Brockman. She earned four degrees and had a teaching career that stretched from Nova Scotia to British Columbia. She was a member of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (Halifax).
In her later years, one of Sister Annata’s greatest delights was visiting the school named after her. After Sister Annata Brockman Catholic Elementary School opened in west Edmonton in 2010, she made the lengthy trip from her home at St. Andrew’s Centre to visit the students every week, even when that meant bringing an oxygen tank with her.
Sister Annata arrived in Edmonton in 1960 and went on to serve as a teacher and administrator in the Edmonton Catholic School District for 21 years, including stints as principal at St. Mark, St. Dominic, and St. Andrew schools.
Upon retiring from that career, she became a pastoral assistant at St. Joseph’s Basilica, where she helped people prepare for sacraments and funerals as well as encouraging people to take a more active role in the faith.
But it was in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, which prepared people to enter the Catholic Church, where she was best known. She once estimated that 500 people went through the RCIA during her 23 years at the basilica, quickly adding that it was not the numbers that mattered, but rather the immersion of the new Catholics into the life of the Church.
“Every day was a special day because I knew that Jesus was indeed touching the hearts of many people, changing them and giving them new life,” she said.
Sister Annata had recently returned to her religious community in Halifax due to failing health. Funeral details have not yet been announcedWe pray for the repose of her soul and those of all the faithful departed. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.A Prayer in Memory of our Beloved Sister Annata Brockman