Sister Andrea Dumont, who spent nearly 40 years doing missionary work in Northern Manitoba, three-quarters of them in Thompson, died Sept. 8 in Toronto at the age of 86.
Dumont, who moved to Toronto from Thompson at the request of her religious order, the Sister’s of St. Joseph of Toronto, less than three months ago, spent 64 years as a nun, receiving the habit in August 1956, making her final profession five years later and celebrating her 60th anniversary as a nun in 2016.
In an interview with the Thompson Citizen shortly before her departure for Toronto, Dumont said she arrived in Northern Manitoba in 1982, spending nine years in Grand Rapids and Easterville before heading even further north to Thompson in 1991. Prior to returning to Canada, Dumont spent 14 years doing missionary work in Guatemala, leaving in 1982 when the political situation made it too dangerous to stay any longer.
A registered nurse who graduated from St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing in 1955, Dumont’s work in Guatemala included training nursing assistants in rural areas where there were no medical professionals, a role that came to include more advanced skills than those required to treat common afflictions such as diarrhea, infections and worms.
“We even taught them to give intravenous and this sort of thing because people were being killed,” Dumont told the Citizen in May.
In Thompson, Dumont concentrated on providing religious education to adults over the course of her 29 years, including the rite of Christian initiation for adults who were interested in becoming Catholics.
Had the choice been left up to her, Dumont would have stayed in Thompson, but her order requested that she return to Toronto, where she lived at the Sisters of St. Joseph residence before becoming ill and suffering several strokes befor dying.
“I was sorry that I had to leave because I love the parish and I love the north,” Dumont said before leaving Thompson. “I really did like the cold in the north.”
Thanks in large part to her efforts instructing adults in the Catholic faith for nearly 30 years, Dumont left Manitoba believing that the parish was in good hands.
“God promised in every community there would be all the gifts necessary for the upbuilding of the community,” she said. “Everybody has different gifts but together they form what is necessary to build up the community and so I’m confident that Thompson and the church will continue because of the people who are here.”