Huge, deconsecrated Roman Catholic church in N.S. Acadian community now up for sale
An aerial photo of St. Bernard Roman Catholic Church in St. Bernard, N.S., on the province’s southwestern coast, is seen in an undated handout photo. The deconsecrated church is being sold for an asking price of $250,000, though it will require extensive repairs, says the former church treasurer, Suzanne Lefort. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Travis Baker
By Michael Tutton in Halifax
A huge, deconsecrated Roman Catholic church that has been a landmark to the Acadian community in southwestern Nova Scotia is up for sale.
St. Bernard Church officially closed last summer as the number of people attending mass in the 1,300-square-metre building had fallen to about 30 to 40 people.
It was listed on Thursday for private sale with an asking price of $250,000.
The listing says during the church’s 32-year construction over 8,000 blocks of granite were transported by railroad and oxen from Shelburne, N.S., to the small community 35 kilometres north of Digby. The church officially was completed in 1942.
Its interior is coated in plaster and framed by religious statues, with Douglas fir plywood from British Columbia used in the pews and wall panels.
However, Suzanne Lefort, a former treasurer of the parish council, said in an interview that it’s been estimated last year that thorough repairs would cost over a million dollars for improvements to the roof, water system and the 28,000 cubic metre interior.
“One part of the roof should be shingled, but because of the height you’d need cranes. So what would be a normal shingling job for a roof gets to be much more expensive,” she explained.
“Whoever takes it over will have to put some money into it now.”
Lefort, 72, said she hopes an investor purchases the building and gives it a fresh purpose that benefits the community.
She said she and some other parishioners now attend another Roman Catholic church in the Parish of Notre Dame d’Acadie in Clare, N.S., which is an amalgamation of six parishes.
Jean Le Blanc, the president of the Heritage Society of St. Bernard, said in an interview Saturday he’s hoping that the church will be converted into apartment units that address the shortage of housing in the rural area.
“Hopefully, if somebody does buy it we (the community) will have some input as to what they will actually do with it,” he said.
Le Blanc said a study by an architect had indicated that the building would be viable as a housing development with about 28 units, if the provincial government or donors assisted.
Le Blanc said he’s also hoping that artifacts from the church will find homes within the area, rather than being sold or disposed of.
Lefort said it’s expected that items such as religious statues and a crucifix that was behind the altar will be stored in another parish.
A spokeswoman for the diocese of Halifax-Yarmouth was not immediately available for comment on Saturday evening.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 25, 2023.
Daughters without moms find support in each other’s grief
This image provided by Hope Edelman, shows a motherless group being led by Edelman and Claire Bidwell Smith. There are many kinds of support today for children who have lost their parents. (Hope Edelman via AP)
By Tracee M. Herbaugh
When my mother died suddenly 30 years ago, I was 13. I’d spend the next 20 years attempting to understand what it means not to have a mother.
And I did this basically alone.
Mostly, this was because my mother’s parents, who raised me, were old-fashioned folks who lived through the Dust Bowl. They didn’t discuss feelings, good or bad. I never once saw my grandfather shed a tear after his daughter died. Plus, our town was in the rural plains of Colorado, hours away from any city with services like a grief therapist, even if my grandparents had been open to that.
But the silence around grief also was a product of the times. I am encouraged to see that now a mom’s death is generally not handled the same way it was in 1993.
There are many kinds of support today, from the organized to the grassroots. Grief can be talked about and shared more publicly, experts say, and is acknowledged to last a long time.
Motherless children can attend special summer camps, for instance, or Mother’s Day retreats like those hosted by the Massachusetts-based non-profit EmpowerHer, which works with girls whose mothers have died. They also link girls with mentors so they can see an older version of themselves. The group recently started working with boys and nonbinary children, too, who have lost either parent.
“There isn’t a perfect ending,” said Cara Belvin, who founded EmpowerHer. “You can cry and scream but you can’t give up, and we hold space for a kid who is grieving.”
Podcasts on the topic of parent loss, and support groups both virtual and in-person, have proliferated.
“It really grew exponentially over COVID,” said Hope Edelman, author of several grief books, including the bestseller “Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss,” published in 1994.
Edelman has led motherless daughters’ groups, and her books have helped usher in a new way to live with loss. “The death of a mother affects a daughter profoundly, but what comes after can affect her as much or more,” she said.
Edelman was 17 when her mother died in 1981, a time she has called the “dark ages” of grief, when mourning often wasn’t discussed much outside the stale office of a therapist.
The prevailing wisdom today tends to be the “continuing bonds” theory, which says grief is to be carried, and relationships continue and change with a loved one, even after their death.
This more engaged approach to grief has been furthered by the internet and social media.
Ontario native Janet Gwilliam-Wright, 46, started “The Motherlove Project,” a blog and corresponding Instagram account, in 2020 to honor the 25th anniversary of her mother’s death. It has since become a place where women from around the world share stories about their late mothers; nearly 300 people have shared so far.
“I didn’t have anywhere to grieve her — she didn’t have a grave — so I decided to make a place on the internet,” Gwilliam-Wright explained.
“I have enormous gratitude for every woman who reaches out to me. It helps me in my grieving and has brought me a community of people I feel so connected to.”
Mother’s Day can feel particularly isolating, said Julia Morin, 36, of Nashua, New Hampshire, who created her Instagram account “Girl_meets_grief” on Mother’s Day 2021 to connect with others who felt the same way.
Before the internet, even though the prevailing attitude toward grief might have been less supportive, still there was often more community and family around than there is now, when many Americans lack built-in support networks.
“And so the widespread online support gives people a broader space to share in that grief and meet people with similar experiences,” said Megan Kelleher, a historian who has studied grief and bereavement practices.
Writing is another way motherless daughters are connecting.
Sasha Brown-Worsham of Acton, Massachusetts, has written about losing her mom as a teenager. She penned a viral essay and followed it up with a memoir, “Namaste the Hard Way.” When Brown-Worsham turned 45, the same age her mother was when she died of breast cancer, she sought out a virtual support group of mothers without moms.
“My daughter turned 16 at the same time, and that’s how old I was when my mom died,” she said.
The group is a collaboration between Edelman’s Motherless Daughters and the Twin Cities-based non-profit She Climbs Mountains.
“There’s this sense of being seen for possibly the first time in my whole life,” Brown-Worsham said.
Life’s milestones — such as getting married or having a baby — can trigger grief. By the time I was 30, I had tricked myself into believing I was adept at ignoring my mother’s loss. That was, of course, far from true.
It was when I had my first baby that I felt grief rise to the surface. Jealousy cropped up in unexpected ways, particularly when I saw my new mom friends with their mothers.
It turns out, this is normal.
“Having kids ripped me open” emotionally, said Katie Paradis, 42, of Rockport, Massachusetts, who has two girls and no mother.
Susanna Gilbertson’s mom died a year before her daughter was born.
“I looked around and didn’t see any support I could access,” said Gilbertson, 47, of Philadelphia.
Along with another motherless mom, she posted fliers for a book group, reading Edelman’s “Motherless Daughters.” After the initial meeting, the women in the group wanted to keep going. They ended up meeting for seven years.
“You get to experience, rather than be told, that you’re not alone,” said Gilbertson, now a full-time grief coach.
Food and Dining
“Cook With Meg” creating community through online courses and camps for 3 years now
News release from CookWithMeg.com
VIRTUAL COOKING SCHOOL THAT STARTED DURING PANDEMIC CELEBRATES 3 YEARS
On March 23, 2020, 27 families from across Canada connected via Zoom amidst the early days of lockdown to Cook with Meg. In this 4 day virtual cooking series, they made Picky Eater Sheet Pan Pancakes, Sticky Chicken Lo-Mein Noodle Bowls, Freaky Friday Fried Rice and That’s A Lotsa Pizza D’oh using limited ingredients with former MasterChef Canada finalist Meg Tucker.
Many will remember when food products and ingredients were not readily available, so families used what they had, or what grocery stores click and collect services would provide. Through these daily cooking lessons, families not only cooked together, but formed friendships across the miles. Week after week, month after month, Cook with Meg grew to include families from Canada, USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Families became friends. We became a Cook with Meg Community.
Today, with over 6000 Zoom connections to thousands of families, the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year award and hundreds of five star reviews, Cook with Meg continues to thrive. Meg partners with the Egg Farmers of Alberta, Central Alberta Co-op, Alberta Pulse Growers, and Salton Canada to offer incredible experiences to families. She blends her years of experience and talents as a professional cook together by providing live and on-demand cooking classes and camps for families in six countries. Whether it’s a class tackling some of the latest food trends, attending a virtual culinary summer camp, or an adult date night class, Meg’s passion goes far beyond teaching people how to cook. It’s building life skills, it’s practicing patience, it’s building kitchen confidence, strengthening family bonds and boosting self esteem.
No matter where you live, Meg says “everyone can connect through making and sharing food”. To do that, Meg carefully designs her classes and camps in ways that help people to connect with their inner chef and the people around them.
A message from Meg: “To every person that has supported the Cook with Meg adventure. Whether you registered for a class, attended a class, liked a post on social, or shared us with your friends and family, THANK YOU. Thank you to all the families who continue to believe in the value of online learning, specifically in the kitchen. We often get asked if we will transition to “in person” classes, now that “life is getting back to normal”. I have one simple answer. I always say we know that virtual and online learning was here before the pandemic, and it’s definitely not going anywhere. I love it because for parents, you don’t have to pack your kids in the car and drive them all over town. Your kids are getting to learn in YOUR kitchen, using your own appliances and tools. There is no learning curve, only a beautiful path to KITCHEN CONFIDENCE! So the answer is no. We are a virtual cooking school and will remain as such. This allows us to keep our costs low for you, to provide families with an amazing opportunity to learn and make friends all over the world, without boundaries!”
Head to cookwithmeg.com to register for one of our upcoming classes, and watch our social as Summer Camp registration officially opens May 1.
Meg Tucker has been creating shared experiences through media for over twenty years. Creator of the Shaw TV original kids cooking show Just One Bite, and a top twenty-five finalist on Masterchef Canada, Meg’s catchy enthusiasm for life brings joy to everyone she meets in front of and behind her kitchen counter.
When the world shifted in March 2020, Meg made the ultimate pivot to build a food community called Cook with Meg..
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