GAETZ, Sister Bernadette (Theresa)

Posted: September 28th, 2020

May 19, 1939 – Medicine Hat, Alberta

September 19, 2020 – Calgary, Alberta

Sister Bernadette (Theresa) Gaetz, Sister of Charity of St. Louis, died peacefully at Swan Evergreen Village in Calgary, AB, on Saturday, September 19, 2020 at the age of 81 years, 62 of those years in religious life.

Bernadette was born in Medicine Hat, AB, the 8th of fourteen children, three of whom died as infants. She grew up in a busy household and knew the value of sharing in the work at hand and in a healthy give-and-take. In 1956, she joined religious life and made her profession in 1958. Her years of varied service included: nine years of teaching in Melville, SK, and Medicine Hat, AB; seven years of parish ministry at St. Francis parish in Edmonton; six years as Provincial Leader of the SCSL West; five years as Administrator of John Paul II Center in Regina, SK; twelve years as General Councillor in Rome and Montreal, QC; and two years of service at St. John’s convent in Calgary, AB. In addition to a B.Ed. from the U of A, Bernie attained a B. of Theol. from Newman Theol. College in Edmonton, and a M. of Theol. from St. Paul’s U, in Ottawa.

Bernie had many gifts that were strongly supported by her deep faith and love of God. She had strong leadership and organizational skills which served her well in all of her ministries. The SCSL province benefited greatly from her financial acumen and her ability to think and plan for the long-term. In any task she undertook, she gave of herself without counting the cost. She had a good sense of humour and enjoyed good companionship with family members, friends and sisters. In her last days, she expressed again and again a deep gratitude for all God’s manifold blessings during her life.

Sister Bernadette will be lovingly remembered by her SCSL sisters; her family – sisters, Kay Bowes, and Shirley (Howard) Sharpe; brothers, Raymond (Gladys), Pius (Frances), Leo (Johanne), and Jim (Rachel), sisters-in-law, Ann (Martin), Ruth (Joe), and Penny (Robert), brother-in-law Frank (Rosemarie) Besplug; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, friends and co-ministers.

She was predeceased by her parents, Christian and Mary (Zahn) Gaetz, sister, Rosemarie (Frank Besplug), brothers, Martin (Ann), Joe (Ruth), and Robert (Penny).

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, a private ceremony to celebrate Bernie’s life will be held. Condolences, memories and photos may be shared and viewed on Sister Bernadette’s obituary at

We are grateful for the excellent and extraordinary care and attention given to Bernie by the staff at Swan Evergreen Village and she was blessed to be able to spend her remaining days in her own ‘home’ at Swan Evergreen.

In living memory of Sister Bernadette Gaetz, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Fish Creek, 14441 Bannister Road SE, Calgary, AB T2X 3J3, Telephone: 403-256-9575.

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