338 - 4th Avenue North | Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7K 2L7
Obituary of Fr. Sylvester Lewans OMI
FR. SYLVESTER, OMI
DECEMBER 31, 1933 – JANUARY 26, 2022
The Service will be live streamed and can be accessed by the link at www.stphilipneriparish.ca
The death of Fr. Sylvester Lewans occurred peacefully on January 26, 2022. Fr. Syl was born on December 31, 1933, in Shaunavon, SK, to Mary (Sand) and Peter Lewans, one of twelve children. A good education was something valued in the Lewans family, and because there were no opportunities for education past Grade 10 in his area, Fr. Syl attended Campion and St. Thomas Colleges for his upper high school years. Fr. Syl entered the novitiate of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, professing his First Vows in October 1953. He furthered his studies and formation at St. Charles Scholasticate in Battleford, SK. He was ordained to the priesthood on September 29, 1958. Over the course of his academic studies, Fr. Syl earned a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education, Master of Arts (History of Religions) and Master of Arts (Counselling and Guidance).
Fr. Syl began his ministry as a teacher at St. Thomas College in North Battleford, SK. After he completed his degree in counselling, he became the guidance counsellor at the school as well. Fr. Syl is remembered as a dynamic individual, developing a work education program for students. He was also a driving force behind the sports programs at the College, particularly the successful Imperials hockey team. Fr. Syl continued to play hockey himself well on in his life. Fr. Syl demanded the best from himself and his students. He was firm and fair, and could sense when a student needed a break, or a little bit of extra encouragement.
In 1978, Fr. Syl was appointed Provincial Superior of St. Mary’s Province in Saskatchewan for a six-year term. Following his service to his community, he went on sabbatical to train as a Spiritual Director. In 1985, Fr. Syl returned to Saskatchewan, and served as Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Regina, and St. Patrick’s Parish, Saskatoon. After his assignment at St. Patrick’s Parish, Fr. Syl willingly and enthusiastically served his religious community, and the church community, in various capacities, including formation and vocation ministries. In 2005, he was assigned to the Oblate Novitiate in Godfrey, IL, as team member leading young men as they explored their vocations. Fr. Syl also provided leadership in the Missionary Association of Mary Immaculate, as sacramental minister at Guadalupe House, and finally, as Director of Mazenod Residence in Saskatoon. Fr. Syl was committed to community and believed that his life was best lived in relationship. He modelled this in service and ministry within the Oblate congregation and the Church.
When Mazenod Residence closed in 2014, Fr. Syl and his brother Oblates moved into Trinity Manor. He then moved to Central Haven Care home, and in 2018, moved to Samaritan Place. During his time at Samaritan Place, Fr. Syl experienced the great devotion and love of his sister, Sr. Anne Lewans, OSU, fellow Oblate, Br. Walter De Mong and his dear friend, Bonnie Roberts. The Oblate community and Lewans family are grateful for their care and attention to Fr. Syl.
In his family, Fr. Syl had what is described as a “gathering charism”. He was the first to remind family when it was time for a reunion. His nurturing presence as an ordained priest was very special in his family. At their gatherings, the celebration of the Eucharist was a high point, with his homilies being particularly down to earth and inspiring to all. He presided at most of the weddings among his 43 nieces and nephews.
Fr. Syl was generous with hospitality in his religious community as well. Along with his confrere, Br. Walter De Mong, they hosted many summer gatherings for community members and guests at the Oblate property at Lac des Iles. It was an on-going summer ministry of hospitality for them, and the Sunday liturgies are remembered as overflowing with guests, some arriving in boats for the celebrations.
Fr. Syl is survived by members of his religious community, The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, OMI Lacombe Province and his siblings Paul (Angele), Sr. Anne, Lucille (Gordon – deceased) Rezac, Ben (Karen), Philip (Linda), Raymond, and Daniel (Pauline), 43 nieces and nephews, and their children. He was predeceased by his parents, Mary and Peter, and his siblings Dolores (Joe) Ruschkowski, George, Theresa (Lloyd) Drake, and Lillian (Grant) Moreton.
The Funeral for Fr. Syl will be held on Friday, February 18th, 2022, at 10:00 am at St. Philip Neri Parish, 1902 Munroe Avenue South, Saskatoon, SK. The Service will be live streamed and can be accessed by the link at www.stphilipneriparish.ca. Due to COVID, the interment will take place at the Oblate Cemetery in Battleford SK when it is safe to do so. Arrangements are entrusted to Saskatoon Funeral Home.
Dependable. Committed. Compassionate.
338 - 4th Avenue North
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7K 2L7
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