After being the Spiritual Life and Community Animator for several Lester B. Pearson schools since the board was created over 20 years ago, Mary Anne Fyckes is retiring at the end of this school year.
It seems oddly fitting that Mary Anne is retiring just as the Mission is closing and Rev. David is leaving. Mary Anne has been a familiar face around SouthWest Mission from its inception. In fact, she is the one who first suggested that Verdun Elementary might be looking to rent space to a community partner and that SouthWest might be a good fit. For twelve years it was, and Mary Anne had a big part in making that partnership work.
Mary Anne has deep roots in Verdun and a great understanding of and fondness for Verdun families. Over the years, Mary Anne has always taken an interest in Mission activities and has served as a bridge between us and a succession of Principals. As a Muslim she has also been a link to our local Islamic Centre, helping to forge a warm relationship between our two communities.
In a rapidly diversifying Verdun, she has consistently been a voice for cultural sensitivity and inclusion. She has been the one we turn to to understand another culture’s approach to the grieving process, but she’s also the one who tells us where to find kosher hotdogs! A spiritual animator’s job is multi-faceted.
As a wearer of the hijab, how does Mary Anne feel about retiring at this fraught moment, with the CAQ government preparing to prevent educators from wearing “religious signs”? Let’s just say that, inside or out of the system, Mary Anne has no intention of keeping quiet!
Mary Anne, you will be missed, but you have earned your rest and relaxation, and all of us at Southwest wish you the best. We won’t say good-bye, just “see you around”.
The school is having a send-off for Mary Anne Fyckes in the Mission space on Friday, May 31st at 6PM. Please get in touch with Amy at the office if you would like to go. The organizers are trying to get an accurate head count.