Sister Isobel Oatway

Sister Mary Remigius
Mary Isobel Oatway
1913 - 2005

Isobel Mary Oatway was born on May 6, 1913 to William Oatway and Mary Ellen Corkery in Stanleyville, Ontario. She was the eldest of 7 children. Her family lived in Stanleyville during the war and later moved to Toronto where they remained for a number of years. The family then moved to Huntsville, later to Claremont and finally to Greenwood which is 14 miles from Oshawa. She attended a one-room school there which apparently Mr. Diefenbaker had attended. Eventually the family moved to Oshawa where her father obtained employment at General Motors. Isobel attended St. Gregory’s School and later the Oshawa Collegiate and Vocational Institute and studied music. She belonged to the church choir and the Children of Mary.

When her father became ill, the family moved to Perth. Isobel continued to study music with Sister Mary Carmel Teresa. She met Mother Anselm during this time. Since Isobel had had a serious operation and also had a heart problem, Mother Anselm assured her that she would have plenty of rest if she decided to enter. She entered the novitiate August 15, 1943. With continued rest throughout her novitiate period, her health began to improve.

After she made profession of First vows in 1945, Sister was asked to assist Sister Margaret MacDonald, the Mistress of Novices. A couple of months later Sister Mary Carmel Theresa arrived at the Motherhouse from Newmarket looking for help with her music class. So Sister Isobel was asked to go that same night to Newmarket with Sister Mary Carmel Theresa. The following year she returned to the Motherhouse to again assist the Mistress of Novices.

She was transferred to Glen Nevis in 1949 to teach music and look after the chapel. The following year she went to Chesterville to teach private piano lessons, school music, direct two church choirs, to be organist and sacristan and to study music during the next fourteen years. Sister continued in the music field in Arnprior, Prescott and Tweed and helped with various duties in the convents.

When the convent in Tweed closed in 1999, Sister went to the Motherhouse infirmary. Sister Isobel was called home to her loving God on November 23, 2005.

Sister’s deep faith, her interest in others and love of fun endeared her to many people. Sister Isobel enjoyed crafts and especially knitting. She used her skills to provide knitted items for the people in the northern missions.

Sister is survived by her sisters, Margaret and Gladys of Oshawa, and Mary and Dorothy of Ottawa. She will be fondly remembered by her many relatives, friends and by the members of her religious congregation.

The Mass of Christian Burial, held in the Chapel of Mary Mother of Compassion, Providence Motherhouse on November 26th was presided over by Most Rev. Francis J. Spence, Archbishop Emeritus of Kingston, assisted by Rev. Gerald Scanlan, Homilist and Rev. Charles Gazeley.