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The Spirit of Archbishop Robert John Renison

Photo of Glenn CartwrightSeventy years ago, Robert John Renison addressed the Empire Club of Canada for the second time. His topic was “Our debt to Northern Ontario.” There was no better expert than the man who lived among the Cree for fourteen years, learned their language, and tended to their needs.
Recently, I was honoured to be invested as a chevalier of the International Knightly Order of St. George. Coincidentally, the ceremony took place at St. Paul’s on Bloor Street in Toronto, the very church that Archbishop Renison served as Rector from 1933-44. As I processed down

Glenn Cartwright, kneeling on the steps of the sactuary in a church, being tapped on the shoulder with a sword.that same aisle, walking in Renison’s footsteps, I almost felt his spirit accompanying me. And I began to think of all the parts of Canada he touched and improved. Following his work in the North at Moosonee, a river and a railway stop were named for him. Christ Church, Vancouver became a cathedral due to his untiring work. As Bishop of Athabasca, he touched the lives of residents over a 200,000 square mile area, and when he returned to Toronto, his weekly column in the Globe and Mail influenced both Anglican and non-Anglican readers alike.

I like to think that his values and spirit live on in the college founded and named for him two years after his death - a college he never knew existed. A college devoted to educating students to their highest level of competence in a caring, compassionate environment. We owe a great debt to Archbishop Robert John Renison. Though we can never pay it back, each of us can pay it forward by honouring his legacy and carrying on his work in the university college that bears his name.
Signature of Glenn Cartwright
Glenn F. Cartwright
Principal and Vice-Chancellor
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