In Remembrance
AFFIRMING A PRIESTHOOD, ROOTED IN A REFORMED AND RENEWED CHURCH

Kurtenbach, Constance May

REST IN PEACEconstance.jpgx

June 17, 2018
KURTENBACH, Constance May Died at the home she shared with her beloved husband, Francois Brassard, in the very early hours of June 17th, 2018. Connie lived a full life and she is survived by many family and friends who loved her very much including, her brothers Leo (99), Joey (88), Eddie (86) and her sister Loyola Cleland (84), as well as her daughter Marylou Caden and John Szpik and their two sons Michael and Daniel. She was raised in Saskatchewan, educated in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario, and finally retired with her husband, Francois, to Vancouver Island from 1986 to the present. Connie loved all the arts, especially painting, music and writing, as well as the wonders of gardening in this lush land. Together with her husband, Connie belonged to The National Organization of Married Catholic Priests. She was an accomplished author, supported community health as a member of GROW, and volunteered with the Esquimalt Arts Council. Connie was a gifted counsellor and made a great impact on those she touched. A celebration of life will be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers Connie suggested making a donation to BCSPCA.

A tribute by Phil Little, CORPUS Canada

It is my privilege to speak on behalf of CORPUS Canada about Connie, a wonder woman of many talents who shared, encouraged and supported many of us in common projects. I promised Francois that I would keep this under 20 minutes (just joking Francois!!) Like some of us here, Connie had a previous life in this world, in the church as a “religious woman” in a community that promoted better understanding between Christians and Jews. She met and married a soulmate with a similar background – Francois who was a monk in the same community that gave us Martin Luther. The church was from where they came, and they sought to offer their gifts and talents to the church as a married couple. They became members of CORPUS Canada, an organization of married catholic priests and spouses who sought to promote reform in the church. Here on Vancouver Island, while for the most part CORPUS people found church doors closed to them, other doors opened. Women who felt called to the priesthood sought support and guidance. Connie and Francois were directly and intimately connected to Dr. Michele Birch-Conery, the first Canadian woman ordained as a Roman Catholic priest. They went on to encourage and support others in this trail blazing endeavor. Connie was a woman of wisdom, multi-talented, perceptive and sensitive, but for those of the CORPUS community she was a dear sister who shared her joys, her passion, her vision and her love. We were blessed to have you walk besides us all these years Connie.Constance is the ninth child of a Saskatchewan farm family. She spent her early years on a very large farm and, then, moved with her retired parents to Cudworth. She attended the town school but com-pleted secondary school at Sion Academy in Saskatoon. She spent twelve years in monastic life, teaching and studying. She received a B. Ed from the University of Saskatchewan. She continued her teaching first in Moose Jaw, SK, then in Edmonton, AB. As Depart-ment Head of Music at Austin O’Brien Secondary School, she founded a number of music groups, produced an LP of folk music that brought the group to many public, well-received performances.In 1967 she moved to secular life in Toronto where she completed a B.A. While continuing her teaching and counselling career, she pur-sued post-graduate studies in English and Music, and took a diplo-ma in Clinical Psychotherapy.In 1986 she moved to Victoria with her husband, Francois Brassard. There, Connie wrote and developed works for Rights of Older Wom-en and helped found G.R.O.W. She wrote and delivered workshops in self-esteem, self-management and marriage preparation for cou-ples.When she and her husband moved to Ladysmith in 1994, she con-tinued her counselling and writing endeavours. She joined painting groups, spiritual groups and finally joined the Chemainus Writers’ group in 2000. This group produced various short writings, and in 2005 successfully published an anthology of short works, entitled The Oyster Speaks. In 2010 Connie self-published In My Mother’s Garden, a masterful collection of beautifully illustrated short stories that capture farm life on the prairies during the 1940s.In 2011 Connie and Francois returned to Victoria where they now reside.
She has been involved in the arts all her life. Gardening, writing, painting, counselling and all the renaissance studies are part of her life on Vancouver Island with the unfailing support of her husband.The Kurtenbach and Brassard families would like to thank all for thier support.

Here on Vancouver Island, while for the most part CORPUS people found church doors closed to them, other doors opened. Women who felt called to the priesthood sought support and guidance. Connie and Francois were directly and intimately connected to Dr. Michele Birch-Conery, the first Canadian woman ordained as a Roman Catholic priest. They went on to encourage and support others in this trail blazing endeavor. Connie was a woman of wisdom, multi-talented, perceptive and sensitive, but for those of the CORPUS community she was a dear sister who shared her joys, her passion, her vision and her love. We were blessed to have you walk besides us all these years.

Connie and her husband, Francois have been supportive of the married priest movement throughout their lives and were instrumental in the founding of CORPUS Canada.

 

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