Sister Francishka of the Cross, a member of the Sisters of Merciful Jesus who had served at Our Lady of Seven Sorrows Parish, passed away on March 10, 2018, at the age of 85. 

Sister Francis, as she was known in the First Nations community, served the people of Maskwacis (formerly Hobbema) for almost 19 years. Sister was a “prayer warrior” to all. She was an epitome of a faith-filled motherhood, Kokum, counsellor, teacher, and adviser, a compassionate friend of the poor and a true disciple of Merciful Jesus. Sister had a contagious sense of humour, always full of joy with unwavering faith and trust in God. Sr. Francishka retired from parish bookkeeping duty in her late 70s and dedicated the rest of her life to making thousands of rosaries, to encourage people to pray the Rosary and Chaplet of Divine Mercy, for priests and religious and for the conversion of souls. Her colourful handmade rosaries reached the four corners of the globe. 

Born Nadia Olga Shewchuk, she came to Canada with her family from Ukraine at the age of 12. She was the only child and believed that God called her to religious life from an early age. However, her parents urged her to get married and out of obedience, she did, which became a great blessing for her and her family. She married a devoted, loving and deeply spiritual husband, John (Ivan), and had six children. She was a devoted mother and wife, and instilled in her family the value and power of prayer and the sacramental life.

In 1971, Olga and her husband had a car accident and John died instantly. She almost lost her own life, but survived to pursue a university degree and fulfill her first “calling” after her children were grown up and had their own families. She belonged to Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church, but received permission from her bishop to enter the Roman Catholic congregation of the Sisters of Merciful Jesus, with whom she served for 24 years. 

Sister Francishka was interred at St. Michael’s Cemetery, Edmonton, after a funerary Divine Liturgy on March 16 at St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral.