Sr. Anna Chan

(Vanessa Santilli interviewed Sr. Anna in the Catholic Register)

In Sr. Anna Chan’s earlier career in retail management, she sought happiness through a love of fine clothes, shoes and bags. “I was looking for happiness,” said Chan, “but I was looking in the wrong place.” She has found the right place and today, her life is much different. Chan is foundress of the Servants of the Cross, a journey she began at a retreat in Ottawa in 2003 when she felt God calling her to consecrated life. “When I felt that call, I had been on a nun run and nothing fit, so I asked, ‘Lord, where are you calling me?’ For some reason, through a prompting of the Holy Spirit, I went to the Companions of the Cross and spoke to the vocations director.” Chan asked whether the Companions had ever considered a sisterhood. The answer was yes — but that nothing had been started as of yet. “There was a gnawing in my heart which said this needs to happen now,” said Chan, who grew up in Mississauga, Ont. At the suggestion of the Companions’ General Superior, Chan went on a discernment retreat. “I went on retreat in Omaha, Nebraska, and there it was nothing but a green light. Yes, in fact, the word on my heart was to birth this sisterhood into life, that the Companions are my family and that it would be a step-by-step process.” She returned to Canada and her work got underway. Now, it’s been 12 years and there are currently three sisters and three novices in the Ottawa-based order.

The Servants of the Cross have a mission of evangelization. “The message is really simple,” she explained. “God loves us. He sent His son to die for us and to save us from our sins and for us to share that simple message with the world.” Bringing Christ to each person she meets is one of the highlights of her work. “It’s that one-on-one encounter with the Lord, whether it be at the grocery store, on a plane or in a restaurant, bringing that joy of Christ to people is the best part of the day for me.” Fr. Bob Bedard, founder of the Companions of the Cross, always envisioned that the Servants of the Cross’ unique spiritual gifts and talents would be used in the encounter of evangelization, said Chan.

“Right now, I do a lot of ministry in teaching and talks and giving conferences,” said Chan, on the phone from Halifax where she was putting on a lay associate retreat.

“But I never expected to go down this road or to be a foundress of a community. My desire was just to fulfill His will.”

In the year of 2000, my family and I arrived to California. Then I studied Business Administration and worked as an accountant. During this time, I had a lot of dreams. I wanted to become a successful business woman. I wanted to get married. Time went by; my long-distance relationship with a friend whom I met in school didn’t work.

I was desperate, sad, and in pain. Somehow, I felt drawn to go back to the Church. One person mentioned of a prayer group, I went there for praise and worship and Bible sharing. After prayer meeting, I went home searching and learning about the Catholic faith and stories of the Saints. Also, I started changing my routines. I attended daily Mass. I prayed the rosary. I went to adoration after work. I read a lot of books, and one of them had big impact on my vocation. The book was called, “The Way of the Divine Love.”

Hi. My name is Sr. Monique Bisson.  I hail from Saskatchewan and I have been with the Servants of the Cross community since 2003.  Every year I learn a different and deeper dimension to my relationship with Jesus.  This past summer, Sr. Anna and I attended the Cornwall diocesan youth conference called Journey to the Father.  At this conference of 350+ youth, the Saturday night Eucharistic Adoration was the highlight. The local bishop, Bishop Durocher led us through an animated Eucharistic Adoration.  The whole evening was amazing but the most striking moment for me was when we were to look at Jesus in the Eucharist and tell Him who He is to each of us. The word I sensed on my heart was ‘Saviour'. I understood in a deeper way that Jesus is my Saviour.  He has saved me from myself and the misery I created through my sins.

SrMelinda-110

I was baptized Melinda Rose Schenher, July 1st, 1979. That may seem like a peculiar place to start this testimony, but I celebrate my parents' decision to bring me into the Catholic faith and do their best to raise me in it.

Having gone to Sunday Mass my whole life, I can admit that it wasn't until my first year of university that I desired God to be more than a 'once-a-week event'. Up to that point, I was living my life without even consulting God. In effect, I did whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted - I was ‘in control'. On a retreat weekend in the middle of midterms, I met Him in a powerful experience and invited Him to come and be Lord of my life because I didn't want to go on with me being in control. There was a part of me that knew my life would never be the same after making that invitation.

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