New National Director for Pontifical Mission Societies

Thursday, July 11 1996

(CCCB) – The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples at the Vatican has named Sister Leona Spencer, C.S.J., of Toronto, Ontario, as National Director (English Sector) of the Pontifical Mission Societies for a five-year term. The appointment was made on June 29. Sr. Spencer, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph, takes over from Father Pierre Richard, SFM.

At the time of her appointment Sr. Spencer was Associate Director of the Society of St. Peter the Apostle, and Editor of Missions Today. Sr. Spencer, born in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario in 1936, is the first woman to hold the post of National Director. She has been a member of Sisters of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie since 1955. Sr. Spencer was Chairperson of her Congregation’s Financial Advisory Committee from 1983 to 1985 and a member of the Committee from 1990 to June 1996.

Sr. Spencer, who has been an elementary and secondary school teacher and principal, completed her MA at Queen’s University in Kingston in 1974, her M.Ed at the University of Toronto in 1980, did post graduate work at the University of London’s Heythrop College (UK) where she received a Diploma in Pastoral Theology in 1985. She has also studied at the Chicago Theological Union in its Israel Study Program.

As National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies, Sr. Spencer has overall responsibility for the four pontifical mission societies in the English Sector of Canada. These are the Society for the Propagation of the Faith; The Society of Saint Peter the Apostle; The Holy Childhood Association; and The Missionary Union of the Clergy and Religious. She will have the responsibility for developing continued interest in the societies in all the dioceses of English Canada. The National Director reports to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in Rome.