Sheptytsky Institute, History and an Introduction to More Modern Days < HOME >
Sheptytsky Institute officially opened its doors as a residence for post-secondary training and education of Ukrainian Catholic students on August 16, 1953. On that day 3,000 people were in attendance at the official opening and participated in a day filled with blessings and prayers, dinner, displays and a concert. Please pray for all who have passed through the doors of the Institute – alumni , friends of our community, our supporters and benefactors.
Upon arrival to Canada, Ukrainian immigrants desired to be an integral part of the “new” society in their new homeland. They valued education and built many schools, churches and halls across the province. These became centers of growth and learning. In general, the local community provided an environment which fostered the preservation of culture, customs and traditions.
At the elementary level, the children attended the school in their community. For their high school years, students usually had to make arrangements to attend a high school which was located away from their home community. Some students may have had the good fortune to attend Catholic institutions of learning such as Sacred Heart Academy (a girls’ high school established 1917) and St. Joseph’s College (a boys’ high school established 1920) in Yorkton.
In 1935, the Ukrainian Catholic Brotherhood established the Markian Shashkevych Bursa, a humble home for boys attending university, Normal School, business college or high school in Saskatoon. In 1937, it was replaced by a much larger and more impressive facility at 304 – 4th Avenue North in Saskatoon. For the next 18 years this residence was home to many of those who rose to prominence in the armed forces, in professions, business and politics. There were mayors, MLAs, MPs, senators, doctors, superintendents, principals, all with Ukrainian roots, who stayed at the Markian Shashkevych Bursa.
After a time, the Bursa could not accommodate the sheer numbers of students who desired to stay there during their studies. New trends were also emerging in Canada; it was changing in character and composition. Once again the Ukrainian Catholic Brotherhood took up the challenge. In April, 1944, the Brotherhood issued a proclamation to build a new residence. In 1945, a site was purchased at College and Wiggins Avenues. With the arrival of His Excellency, Bishop Andrew Roborecki, in 1951, nearly $400,000 was raised through parishes, church organizations and private donations. Construction of the new Institute began in 1950, the cornerstone was laid in 1952, and the Metropolitan Sheptytsky Institute was officially opened in 1953. It could accommodate 70 students as well as a chapel with a choir loft and seating for 100, and a museum. It was also the headquarters of OBNOVA Club, a Ukrainian Catholic university students’ organization.
The photo on the left shows the construction of Sheptytsky Institute. Donated by S.Nahachewsky.
Early residence life. See Student Centre for links to pictures starting in 2002.
Gatherings at Sheptytsky Institute - Through the years included clergy and various other Eparchial groups.
Metropolitan Sheptytsky Institute remained under the jurisdiction of the Episcopal Corporation of Saskatchewan until 1975. By the late 1960’s, increasing secularism and growing pluralism began to impose new values and new lifestyles on a traditionally Christian society. By 1974, the Institute began to experience financial difficulties. The structure itself was in need of major renovations and upgrading in order to conform with mandatory building codes. Bishop Roborecki summoned a meeting of the laity to deal with these matters. A Provisional Board was formed and assigned the task of assessing the situation and recommending the changes necessary to once again make the Institute a viable operation.
The above photos are from a little packet of slides found in the residence office in 2002. If you know what event they are celebrating, the year, and any of the people please forward this information to the office!
The narrator in the middle photo has been identified as Deacon Steve.
The Provisional Board recommended the creation of the Metropolitan Sheptytsky Society of Saskatchewan (MSSS), to be incorporated under the Societies Act of Saskatchewan. A 17-member board representing six regions of the province assumed responsibility for the Institute on December 1, 1975. It elected a 5-member Executive and several committees. An Operations Manager and an Executive Secretary were hired in 1976. These two positions were merged into one in 1982.
Prior to the extension of the second
floor over the chapel (1984), this was the artwork on the back wall of the sanctuary. It was painted in 1966 by iconographer Teodor Baran.
The 1978-79 school year was the final year in which Sheptytsky Institute was an all-male residence. During the 1979-80 school year, the Institute became co-ed.
From MSSS minutes of two 1980 meetings: "In his remarks, His Excellency Bishop A. Roborecki indicated that he is always pleased to attend Board of Directors Meetings, and hear the problems which may exist. …Naturally we run into problems and differences…We must realize that we are dealing with young men and women, and very often patience is required in dealing with their demands. His Excellency stated that no other Institute is trying as hard to mold character and develop future leaders with emphasis on Christian Life and Love of Mankind as does Sheptytsky Institute. For this effort, the Metropolitan Sheptytsky Society and Sheptytsky Institute must be complimented. His Excellency sincerely thanked the Directors for their interest, energy and time spent developing future leaders who will play an important role in our Ukrainian Catholic Community as are so many previous graduates of Sheptytsky Institute assuming their responsibilities in our Society at present. …He commended the Management Committee and the Board of Directors for a job well-done…His Excellency stated that our resident students will some day look back on their stay at Sheptytsky Institute and will appreciate what has been done for them.”
Located across cross the street from the U of S Campus and near St. Thomas More College, the Institute was a popular co-ed residence for students pursuing post-secondary training and education. A number of amenities, including: a non-alcoholic/non-substance/no-smoking, spacious, quiet and clean living environment; furnished bedrooms; recreation and community areas; an in-house dining area; kitchen services with an excellent reputation for home-cooked food and varied menus, assisted students from rural communities or other parts of Canada and the world with both the transition to university life and, for many, their first time away from home.Students were given opportunities to become involved in liturgical activities within the Institute and on Campus through the services of the Campus Pastoral Minister. Students were also provided with opportunities to experience Ukrainian cultural-heritage activities and events arranged by the Institute staff. The residents also were actively involved in the social, recreational and cultural life of the Institute.Students from a variety of faith traditions and cultural backgrounds have over the years called "Sheps" their home while pursuing studies in Saskatoon.
Dan Marciniuk served as Manager from 1978
until his retirement in 1998.
The Institute began generating revenues through Summer Camps and programs. In 1984, the second floor was extended from the choir loft, over the entire chapel, to house a library. Two rooms were provided for the Ukrainian Catholic Religious Education Centre, the resource center and educational-extension branch of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Saskatchewan. The museum was moved to its own premises near St. George’s Cathedral. During this time, a modernization of the kitchen facilities enhanced the Institute’s profile. The Religious Education Centre eventually assumed the space occupied by the library.
In 1998, the Metropolitan Sheptytsky Society and St. Thomas More College entered into a Management Agreement whereby the College assumed the management functions of the Institute. The Institute Board and the Eparchy of Saskatoon continued to arrange and oversee cultural-heritage initiatives and spiritual programs such as Campus Pastoral Ministry for the residents.
In September, 2002, the Management Agreement was replaced with a Letter of Understanding, whereby the Institute and the College would continue to move together in a number of areas including campus pastoral ministry, technology, recruitment and other areas of mutual interest. The Institute management was once again in the hands of the Metropolitan Sheptytsky Board. Ms. Sylvia Baran was hired as General Manager.
In 2010, the Agreement between the MSSS and the Eparchy expired and was not renewed by the Eparchy. MSSS Management responsibilities of Sheptytsky Institute officially ceased May 15th, 2010 and management responsibilities reverted back to the Ukrainian Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Saskatchewan.
Contents of this page prepared by the MSSS; Photos are property ofMSSS.