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Our Lady of Sorrows priest Father Tensingh brought the children of his parish to tour the lush gardens nurtured by Shirley Perrin at her Holditch Street home in Sturgeon Falls, Saturday, August 8. The youth and the new priest were also surprised with an impromptu butterfly release, courtesy of Gisèle Perrier. The visit sparked a plan to grow food for the community.
by Isabel Mosseler
August 19, 2020
When Father Amaladhas “Alexander” Tensingh took the children of his parish to the gardens nurtured by Shirley Perrin on Saturday, August 9, the beauty of the occasion took his breath away and inspired him. The parish priest for Our Lady of Sorrows in Sturgeon Falls and Holy Spirit in Garden Village is new to Canada. “I arrived in January, it was cold and everything was bright. Then it was March and I was held up in the house [quarantine]. Then spring started, I look around. This garden is spiritual – it is made for others. It’s a kind of paradise.”
On that Saturday it was arranged for him to bring the children to discover the gardens at the Perrin home on Holditch Street, and enjoy a butterfly release, courtesy of Gisele Perrier.
Sitting in the garden with its chief gardener, Shirley Perrin, he said, “Mother [Shirley] created a wonderful place for all, not just for her. I can bring my children here; I can bring all the people here… I went for a walk and could see the garden. The land here is rich, the water is good, most [properties] are lawns. But here, I see a garden.” The beauty spoke to Tensingh’s heart. “I am new here. Every day I have to change my mind and my attitude. Everyday is making me a different person. It’s not a new country here. I find it’s a new world. Everything here is new for me.”
Shirley Perrin isn’t a Catholic, but she and the parish priest found a real connection. “How I met him was through Lynne Ouellette; she is the secretary [at OLS]. She contacted me one day and said the Father was thinking about putting in a garden. He wants to grow vegetables, he wants to feed the poor, and he wants to give to the food bank. I think she was trying to talk him out of it because it’s a lot of work. She asked if she could bring him over, and I could show him what I do and what I grow… he wanted to bring the children.”
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