The Cree World of Roger Vandersteene

summer night in which evening glow flows into morning red
God's love blooms intense awareness of day and sun
on smouldering horizon at once hidden and revealed anguish subsides

Northern Night, Roger Vandersteene, omi

Roger Vandersteene (1918-1976) was born in Marke, Belgium, and came to northern Canada as a Missionary Oblate, arriving at St. Bernard's Mission in Grouard, Alberta, on 13 November 1946. For nearly thirty years he made his home in the Cree world, studying the language and folkways and discovering the Cree religious vision that inspired his poetic and artistic work. He often spoke of the transformation of his life and understanding through this lasting friendship. Vandersteene's quest was the building of what some have come to call a new religious reality, a spiritually powerful Cree church which does not simply unite Cree tradition and Catholicism but indigenizes Cree spiritual understanding in Catholicism, a "magnificent Cree formulation of Christian life." In Fr. Vandersteene's view, a young missionary colleague noted, "if Jesus could be incarnated a Jew and be the Son of God he could as well have been incarnated a Cree and be the Son of God."
Canadian Heritage Information Network, The Provincial Museum of Alberta,

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