sidents in Kenora will have a little extra colour to look at when they walk about the community next week. Over 400 Hearts of Hope will be planted in downtown Kenora, during Catholic Education Week, as the culmination of an 8-week initiative called Journeying in Hope and Reconciliation. Students were invited to decorate a heart to be part of the heart garden, thinking about a child who attended or was lost to residential schools. Each heart is unique just as each child who experienced the Indian Residential School was unique and precious.
Students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 have been learning about the residential school system during classroom lessons and prayer services.
Danial McNeill, Grade 12 student from St. Thomas Aquinas High School talks about how his class has been involved. "In my class, we have been working on the hearts that are going to be around downtown, and we've been learning about what has been happening in the residential schools, leading up to them closing down. It wasn't fair to them what we've been doing. We've been taking away their culture and their freedom, and it's not been fair."
Mariette Martineau, Religious Education and Family Life Coordinator is the lead on the Journeying in Faith and Reconciliation initiative, developing classroom lessons, supporting teachers and working with the Board's Elder in Residence, Isobel White.
"Kenora Catholic is trying to stand in solidarity with our Anishinaabe and Métis brothers and sisters who have been impacted by residential schools. We are trying to make sure the stories are told and heard. We are planting the heart garden to represent our ability to stand in solidarity, to listen, respect and try to make a difference in the lives of those impacted by the residential schools. The heart gardens are being planted in honour of all the children who attended the residential schools. We want them to know that we care, that we support them in their healing, and we want to make sure the Canadian history is truthfully told."
On Thursday, May 9th students from St. Thomas Aquinas High School and École Ste-Marguerite Bourgeoys will be having a prayer service and then at 10:15 AM they will walk to the Cecilia Jeffrey School Memorial site.