The window in memory of Vivian Andree was dedicated at Windsor Park United Church on Sunday, October 18, 2009
Vivian Patricia Elizabeth Andree was the beautiful, cherished daughter of Len and Lois Andree, and sister to Lorraine, Brian and Lisa. Here is their story in their own words:
“It’s been almost 44 years since she passed away, but not a day goes by that she isn’t in the thoughts of Mom and Dad, and is still very much a part of our lives. She’s there in spirit with us during special times; she’s part of our Christmas, when Dad places Vivian’s own hand-made paper angel at the top of the tree each year. She’s part of our successes and is a big part of why we are such a closely knit family. We’ve shared many stories and memories about Vivian over the years. Mom and Dad made this decision to dedicate a window in honour of Vivian, in order to share her memory and her spirit. (Lorraine)
“My sister Vivian came into this world on November 21st, 1959 and although I was only 3 years older than Vivian I do remember growing up with her, and her being a very jovial fun-loving sister. Vivian brought much happiness and love to her family and many little friends. At almost 2 years old she was diagnosed with a cancer tumour in her leg, that eventually had to be amputated… Vivian was then outfitted with a prosthesis, and with the use of crutches could not be held down. Her energy was unbelievable. Vivian always wanted to be a ballet dancer and looked forward to going to school.
When she was 6 years of age matters got worse, but she insisted on going to school. So Mom and Dad took her to Neil Campbell School in East Kildonan and enrolled her into the first grade. However, within two months, Vivian’s health was such that she had to be taken out of school and started to take Cobalt treatments at the Children’s Hospital on a regular basis. The treatments were conducted in a closed area with only a window allowing you to look at the patient being treated. There was however an intercom hookup in the waiting room so that if the patient needed attention she could just speak out and you would hear her. During one of the last treatments all was quiet, until over the intercom you could hear Vivian singing with all her little might, one of the many hymns Mom taught her. It was Vivian’s favorite, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” She often sang through her treatments to help pass the time and ease the discomfort. She kept the doctors, nurses, and staff humble, and their dedication to Vivian was heart-warming.
When, one day at the hospital, Dad was on the telephone in the hospital hallway, and Mom went out in the hall to get him. She said “Vivian wants you.” Dad came into the room. Vivian stood up on her one leg, and spoke her last four words – “Pick me up, Daddy, ” she said. Dad picked her up, cradled her in his arms. Vivian took 3 or 4 deep breaths. She then passed away… from the arms of Dad into the arms of God.” (Lisa)
Explanation of the window design:
“Many hearts were broken on February 9th, 1966, but it is with pride that my Mom and Dad are dedicating this window today, here at Windsor Park United Church. Dad had sketched out a drawing as to what special significance the window should bear. After all, it had to capture the very special soul of a very special little girl. What Mom and Dad are about to share with you today is just that – a small blonde child looking up to the sky, as overhead she watches a soaring white dove. The stained glass picture is full of light, hope and innocence. (Brian)
Hymn VU #365 “Jesus Loves Me”
Prayer of Dedication
God of great compassion, you know the aching of our hearts as we remember the one we have loved and lost. This window is placed in this church as a sign of love and hope and conviction. It is intended, by its very design, to point us to your welcoming presence in our lives. It serves as an enduring tribute to Vivian and the joy and innocence that marked her short but significant life. Now, O God, we dedicate this gift to your glory. Bless this window that it may be, for us, a means to a deeper, more penetrating, and active faith in the world. We ask this in the name of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. AMEN
One: Will you receive this gift given in love and faith?
All: With humble thanks we accept this window.
One: Will you search it for the inspiration to live more bountiful lives as disciples of Christ?
All: We will honour Vivian’s memory, the love of her family and the call to live with justice, mercy and grace.
One: May God be praised.
This marks the completion of our stained glass windows….something we didn’t imagine doing only a few years ago. Each window tells a story…..about the person in whose memory it has been given….about the family who presented the windows to our church….and about this church family which kindly, compassionately, thoughtfully cares for one another in all the good and hard times of the journey. May you all be blessed with the courage, the wisdom and the grace to keep doing what you do….for God’s sake.