Sheilagh Ashworth, October 24th 1969 – June 28 2020.

Sheilagh passed away this morning. She was surrounded by her daughters and sister who were there to give her love and joy and to wish her well.

The family will be having a private ceremony for her funeral. A public celebration of Sheilagh’s life will be held when permitted.

In the meantime, if you wish to celebrate Sheilagh’s life: grab your loved one, and a cooler and head off to your favourite lake. Have something to drink and to eat, Go for a swim or maybe a paddle. Make a little love. Sheilagh will bless you!

The family would like to thank you for your love and support during this time. It has been a difficult year for Sheilagh and you have made all the difference: giving Sheilagh life, hope, and love when she needed it the most.



Sadly Sheilagh’s condition has deteriorated significantly. She has been moved to a hospice in the anticipation of the end of her life. She is surrounded by her family and friends who are giving her love and joy.

Sheilagh has appreciated your love and discretion in how you have respected and protected her space over this year past. She hopes that you will keep up your good work by continuing to respect her and her daughters’ space and privacy. She has spoken warmly of all of you and loves you for this. Your love and support have meant everything to her and she is and remains grateful.

Please do not leave flowers or other objects by the house or on the lawn. If you wish to write a letter or a card – there is white bench on the porch where you can leave them. Sheilagh and her girls would love to read about your love and your experiences with Sheilagh. A donation to the Anglican Parish of Lloydtown would not go amiss either.

If you wish to celebrate Sheilagh in a way she would like: as you drive by the house honk your horn or, if you are on a motorbike, race your engine a bit (Not too late at night – please!). She loves these signs of support.

Bernie Monette (Sheilagh’s brother)

A Gift From Richard Wagamese

Yesterday was a full day – full of grace and love and support – but I did not want to be at the hospital.  Not one bit. Each thing that i had to do felt too much. That makes everything harder. I had a CT followed immediately by an hours MRI then home via Dorios for lunch 🙂 then back for an x ray and meeting with the surgeon.  Genny is a miracle worker and was able to re-arrange our schedule on the fly so that we were unloading at home before our last appointment was scheduled to start.

it took me a long to unwind when i got home. At 5:00 when it was time for evening prayer i was still wound tight as a clock. In evening prayer I was given a word of the Lord via Richard Wagamese and his tremendous book Embers. This was the gift:

I no longer want to be resilient.  I don’t want to simply bounce back from things that hurt me or cause me pain. Bouncing back means returning to where I stood before. Instead, I want to go beyond the hurts and darkness.  The first step toward genuine healing from my mental illness was when I came to trust and believe there was a beyond. Now I reach for beyond every day, in every encounter, in every circumstance. I seek to go where I have not travelled. I wake with a vision of a purposeful day, filled with adventures and teachings. Then I take the first step and try to make it beyond.


Morning Prayer Experience

There have been many many times in my life when the Scriptures speak directly to me.  Very often I will work on a sermon all week then at the end, that work was for me and God wanted something different for the congregation. (Preachers, say amen if this your experience too)

Today was the first day that I have worshipped with my parish in a year.  It was by Zoom but they really made it feel like we were together.  Anyway, its been a year and look what the psalm is for the day – psalm 116.  God has been preserving my life and God gave me opportunity to express my thanks for my days, with my people.

Psalm 116

I love the Lord, because he has heard
    my voice and my supplications.
Because he inclined his ear to me,
    therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
The snares of death encompassed me;
    the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
    I suffered distress and anguish.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
    “O Lord, I pray, save my life!”

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
    our God is merciful.
The Lord protects the simple;
    when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest,
    for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

For you have delivered my soul from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling.
I walk before the Lord
    in the land of the living.
10 I kept my faith, even when I said,
    “I am greatly afflicted”;
11 I said in my consternation,
    “Everyone is a liar.”

12 What shall I return to the Lord
for all his bounty to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord,
14 I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his faithful ones.
16 Lord, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the child of your serving girl.
You have loosed my bonds.
17 I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice
and call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the Lord,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!

I don’t know what the word of the Lord is for you but I am grateful for the word of the Lord given to me today.


Update on Sheil.

Three Cheers For Low Humidity!

Three Cheers for the end of the heat wave!

But Most Importantly Three Cheers for You!

So many people came together to help me when I asked for an air conditioner for the rectory – thank you!                    Hip! Hip! Hurray!

Let me tell you how I am doing. I am well, all together. Everything is healing surprisingly well.  It has been 6 weeks since the knee and femur replacement so I will return to the fracture clinic this coming week for review. I soooo look forward to getting my legs back! It’s coming and I am trusting the healing process. (Apart from the exit door, the fracture clinic is my favourite place in the hospital)

I had a very difficult time when they put me on anti-depressants.  It was as if someone had taken over my body and ransacked my mind. During that time I lost a lot of weight and now I am putting it back on.  I eat like a baby so that my digestion system can heal – broth and high protein smoothies for me!  I am appropriately depressed at times because I am ill but I am not depressed.  I know that because of my behaviour – I am well most of most days, I dream of my future and I am highly motivated.  If I was depressed I would take the drugs.  I will get a prn for anxiety for sure.  I am learning a lot about anxiety and there isn’t much to like but I  am growing in compassion.

I am still swimming in that river of love.

My support system is excellent.  I know I am unusually blessed with family and friends and my community.  I love it here and belong here.  Such a gift, eh?

I am putting my motorbike up for sale.  It was so much fun but I don’t want any chance of injury again and I’ll use the money for homeopathic treatment when the time comes.

The service today is at 10:30 🙂

I love you,




I’m Back!

Hello everyone!

It’s been a few months since I last wrote. Since my hip surgery in November, the last eight months have been hectic and painful. It felt like every two weeks there was a new challenge, such as C. difficile, the Covid outbreak, confusion as to where the source of my pain was, and the discovery of more cancer in my knee and femur. Halfway through April, the femur in my right leg broke, and it took three weeks before the hospital was able to admit me and preform a femur replacement. Because of the pandemic, I spent 18 days in a room all alone in the hospital. One of the films I watched repeatedly is called the Dawn Wall. The Dawn Wall is the biggest outcropping in Yosemite Park and is considered to be an impossible climb. The film is based on two men who climb it an have to focus with all they have to make incredible moves up the wall. I love to watch their focus and determination. In a way, I feel as though I’m climbing my own Dawn Wall.

I would like to thank my friends and family for waiting patiently for news from me. Healing is my primary focus and is taking up all of my concentration.

Today was fantastic; I’m back on chemo as of Thursday of this past week and am recovering very well from surgery. Today, I was able to walk from my room to the kitchen and back three times (I’m training for the Schomberg Country Run, always the last Saturday of September:) ). My sister Genny and her husband Mike have been incredible in their dedication to me. Gen cares for me full time and always graciously, without complaint – she’s a saint. Sarah and Madeleine are struggling through it,  with more witness than I would ever wish. I don’t know which is worse, being the one suffering, or watching the ones you love watch you suffer. For me, this is about our faith, love, and hope. Spirituality has been incredibly enlightening; there’s so much support, and love, and healing just waiting for us. There have been some very cool spiritual experiences for me in this time, and I can’t wait to write about them and share them with you here.

My vanity has taken a bit of a hit, but that’s good. I’ll send pictures when I’m stronger; I’ve got some new muscles growing that I’ll flex for ya later. I miss going to church and I miss my people, the people of my parish are amazing, and it’s been nothing but love and graciousness from you all. Thank you for not getting bored in your prayers for me, I need them lots everyday – we must carry hope together.


Sheilagh +

Update on Sheilagh

Greetings, friends of Sheilagh. Christi Dye here, long time friend. I first met Sheilagh in 1995, in the kitchen of the New House at Daybreak. I fell in love with her right there, and we have been dear friends ever since, through many phases of life. As part of Sheilagh’s circle of support, one of my jobs is to update her webpage, which I am glad to do.

Sheilagh continues to move forward profoundly strong in her spirit, deep in her insight and spiritual journey, and, as she says “in a river of love.” Thank you for being part of that river

At the end of November, Sheilagh officially became a bionic woman! She had a hip replacement, and my own favorite part of that story is that when she met the orthopedic surgeon, awed at his methodology, she said “You mean to tell me that you put a saw into people’s bodies??!! That’s amazing! That deserves a high five! So HIGH FIVE!” And high five-d the guy! In the midst of all she is going through, she continues to find delight and connection and humor.
She has recovered from the replacement and has had radiation on the hip and her knees for metastases in those places, though the hip replacement removed most of the affected hip. The great news is that during that process–several weeks–she had to discontinue chemo, and the tumors in her torso did not grow! So while there have been new challenges with further metastases, Sheilagh and all of us, continue to give thanks for each piece of good news. The plan now is to resume chemo mid-Jan, after the radiation gets out of her system.

Her siblings are providing immense support–thank you, large Catholic families!!–on every front. Each one (of the six) is doing the part that he/she can do best. Though each one is playing a special role, notable is her “womb-mate,” her twin, Genny, who stays with her after every chemo…and…and…and…. they are….simply….together…. Their personalities are quite the study in contrasts, which makes it all the more beautiful–and hilarious–to be around them.

It’s amazing how love calls us to rise to more than we could have known we were even capable of….

This is an arduous journey. Every day, Sheilagh endures much in body and spirit. And she continues to laugh, to engage her path with courage and strength and hope, to love those dearest to her, to mother two extraordinary young women with gentleness and grace, and to encounter the very real presence of God in ways that are tangible and transforming. While much of this is grace, it is also the very fruit of who she is—her strength, her openness, her persistence in choosing the path of life and love.

The Season of Thanksgiving

Some good news to start with – the CT scan revealed that the chemo regime is working.

There are no new masses and each mass is smaller. Good news indeed!

I do believe that this progress is due to the rich combination of chemotherapy, prayer in a myriad of forms, friendship, spiritual healing, energy work, lymphatic work, familial love, psychological healing, a strong body, a powerful determination to live and most especially the grace and mercy of The Creator.

People often ask how many more chemo sessions are left and the answer to that is unknown. The plan is to continue with chemo until we are done. My cancer is an aggressive form and requires constant vigilance. This is an ironman triathlon, not a sprint and requires that level of commitment and concentration. Every day is game day for me.

My understanding of what faith is has expanded a great deal since diagnosis. I remember talking with Clayton deVries about his constancy in caring for Christ Church, Kettleby. I was new to the parish and I noticed that he and his beloved wife Theresa were there all the time – managing the grounds, fixing the buildings, visiting elders of the parish and generally making sure the church was functioning well and serving its mission. Sometimes it was clear what needed to be done and other times not so but always it was a practice of faith. Mopping the floors was an act of faith, same as taking a risk and trusting that God would provide enough people, enough money and rich enough worship to keep the people grounded in the love of God. We practice faith when we have everything going for us so that when we are challenged we have the spiritual muscle memory to carry us through the dark times. I have had so many teachers who have showed me how to practice faith in God, in our Maker, in Life, in Goodness and I am deeply grateful.

There are some things you can only learn by acting courageously. It would be going too far to say I am grateful for cancer, but I have learned and grown in ways that I would never have otherwise. For more life, for deeper compassion, for a broader understanding of the spiritual life, for more time with my siblings, for time to reflect and pray; for these things that have come because of my diagnosis, I am grateful. The gratitude helps me deal with the frustrations of being very limited physically, with being threatened every day, with the fear and anger at missing out on life. I love life and living it to the fullest.  My favourite verse in the Scriptures is in the Gospel of John where Jesus says that “I have come to give you life and life in the fullest.” (You get a prize if you can quote the chapter and verse without looking it up) Getting the most out of a day makes me so happy and laying on the couch “behaving” is very difficult. Perhaps I am blind to how that is full life. I ask for the grace to see it differently and to accept my limitations.

Thank you for your care, your prayers and your acts of love and kindness.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Peace and light be with you.

Love Sheilagh


A day in the life

I’m thinking of getting a button that says, “Closed for renovations”.

I can’t take care of anyone else right now but old patterns die-hard.

You know when you wake up in the summer and you can smell that beautiful clean smell of ozone and you guess that you must have slept through a thunderstorm. When you get up and see that you were right you kinda feel like a wise person in tune with nature. Madeleine woke up with that kind of feeling yesterday but it was not as pleasant as a thunderstorm. It was a feelings storm.

(I know, gross)

Madeleine woke up yesterday, gave a sniff and thought, “uh oh, Mom’s mad”. I was crashing around the house like a baby who didn’t get her way. I was mad and mad to be mad. (this is the song that never ends….sing along, now!)

For the most part I have been able to stay focused on healing and getting better but doubt crept in when my guard was down and got a foothold.

When the storm blew itself out Madeleine and I made a plan to take this storm show on the road.

We packed up old plates, trinkets, vases and my trusty slingshot.

And because we are not hooligans we also packed a box, broom and safety glasses. We took a drive, found a beautiful spot then spent a couple of hours breaking things – just the right medicine. Madeleine has a great shot, we could eat off her aim.

I’ve made some adjustments to my expectations (lowered them, of course) and tried to create more space for patience. Chemo number 5 is next week, so I’ll need to make sure my foundations are well set.

As always, I am grateful for your love and prayers. I love you too.

Here is the full version of the Emily Dickinson poem Mrs. Cober referenced – thank you for the reminder.

Emily Dickinson

‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—

I’ve heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.

The Bees

The thing people say to me after they assure me of their love and prayers is “How are the bees?”  So here is a brief update:

The bees are very well.

They had a rough spring but have enjoyed the summer quite a bit.  The apiary has been a haven for me.  I go there to rest and to be tended to by the bees and to be in nature.  My buddies Eddie and Mannie have helped with the grass and the shelter (this is a before picture).  My brother Bernie has been helping in the yard regularly.  I am amazed by how strong he is and how easily he manages the equipment.  I could work out every day and not be able to move a colony of bees the way he does (am I a wee bit jealous? why, yes, I am) (everywhere I turn there is more spiritual work to be done!)

In as many ways as possible I let the bees lead.  This means attentive listening and observing.  They prefer not to be disturbed, especially when there is a honey flow on.  Each time you open a hive they have work to do to rebuild comb.  A hands off approach has been good.

The kind of listening you do in an apiary is like the kind of listening you do in L’Arche.  You know how when you start a friendship with someone who does not communicate in the same way you do.  Especially at the beginning, you put forward what is best about you and in turn you open yourself to receive what is best about them and allowing them the space to communicate in their way.  That is how you approach bees.

In beekeeping there is only one date that you follow without fail and that is September 14.   On September 14, no matter the weather or how great the honey flow is you’ve got to get the supers full of honey off.  The rest of the honey is for them for the winter.

(Who got Holy Cross Day, when I mentioned September 14? Let me know if you got it without being told and I’ll send you a prize.) (Everyone likes a treat once in a while.)

In the meantime, I’ve got a bit of work to do in the honey room to get ready and I’ll be tapping some friends on the shoulder to help with the heavy lifting and labour of extracting honey.

We’ll be putting honey out at the end of the driveway soon!