There was a round of applause and many congratulations inside the City Hall chambers on Monday after council received news that the former Rivier Academy had been sold.
Mayor Greg Dionne thanked two of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary that were in attendance for their contributions to Prince Albert and wished them well on their new journey.
“I just wanted to thank them for making Prince Albert a better place,” Dionne during Monday’s executive committee meeting. “They will always be in our heart because they’re a major part of our history.”
Coun. Dennis Ogrodnick shared fond memories of growing up around the sisters and how their values helped shape him into the person he is.
“Wonderful people, wonderful school, wonderful memories,” he said. “I want to thank the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary for their dedication to education.”
Ogrodnick also congratulated the sisters for the canonization of Sister Marie Rivier, foundress of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary and the namesake of Rivier Academy, by the Catholic Church in May of this year.
In a letter to City Council, Provincial Superior for the religious province of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary of Western Canada Sister Lise Paquette said bidding farewell to the home they’ve had for seven decades was full of “mixed emotions”.
”It is with a heavy, grateful heart that we leave for the next generations, years of beautiful history lived by the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary on this piece of land at 1405 Bishop Pascal Place since 1951,” reads her letter. “The people of the Prince Albert community have been friends to the Sisters as they worked with us during different stages of our Mission of Education in this city.”
While Rivier Academy closed in 2017, several potential sales of the building from different organizations, such as the Metis-Nation Saskatchewan and the French Canadian Society of Prince Albert, fell through over the last number of years. The sale allows the Sisters that currently reside in Prince Albert to retire to smaller venues around the City, a process that Sister Paquette said has been underway for the past several years.
“As our Mission in Prince Albert and Saskatchewan communities have transitioned, we have acquired and developed properties more appropriate to our current situation, from which we will continue our service to a community we love and have been an active part of for more than a century,” read her letter.
The building was sold at the end of August to the Canadian Revival Centre Corporation, an Evangelist church that operates an independent elementary school for Grades 1 to 12 and a bible college that offers both certificate and diploma programs in Prince Albert.
The Daily Herald reached out to the Canadian Revival Centre on Friday, but did not receive a response by press time.
Bailey Sutherland, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald