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BROTHER ISIDORE WASYLENCHUK
Brother Isidore has spent most of his career at St. Joseph’s in Yorkton. Except for 5 years which included his studies in Canada and Poland and work on St. Vincent he has been part of College life. Actually, since his student days which began in 1945 he has either been a teacher or principal and for the last 16 years Dean of the University Division which he helped to set up at the College.
Brother Isidore was born in Stenen on New Year’s Eve in 1925. He completed his High School studies at St. Joseph’s College, Yorkton. In 1943 he joined the order of the teaching Christian Brothers.
He earned his B.A. from the University of Western Ontario; his M.A. in Slavic Studies he received from the University of Ottawa and his B. Ed. Degree from the University of Saskatchewan. He was back at St. Joseph’s College in 1945 as a teacher; he specialized in the teaching of Religion, Ukrainian and Mathematics. From 1959-65 he became first vice-principal and then principal. During this time the college was rebuilt and enlarged under his direction. When under his direction the University Division was established the duties of the Dean of the University were added.
In 1966 he received the UNESCO fellowship .which enabled him to follow his doctoral studies for 20 months at the University of Warsaw in Poland. Under the auspices of the Canadian International Development Agency he transferred to a mission school in St. Vincent in the West Indies, during two years here he was involved in teaching and in building a school.
Coming back to St. Joseph’s he resumed his duties in Yorkton once again. He was principal of the school until it amalgamated with Sacred Heart Academy in 1973. Since then he has continued on as Dean of the University Division which originated in 1964. With the province’s two university campuses many miles away, the Brothers had decided in 1963 to seek affiliation with the University of Saskatchewan. Evening classes began in 1964 for about 100 students. Full-time University classes were tried out in rented space at St. Mary’s rectory the next year. For a number of reasons, this was found impractical and evening classes resumed and have been exceptionally successful ever since.
When the number of teaching Brothers started to decline, it was Brother Isidore who laid the groundwork for lay staff to be hired and for takeover of financing by a Collegiate Board System. Up until then the provincial government had only made grants available to separate elementary schools. In large measure, because of the situation in Yorkton, the government recognized and began support of Catholic High School.
The Knights of Columbus have always occupied a special part in his heart. As long as he was in charge St. Joseph’s facilities were always available to Councils for meetings, major degrees, socials, dances or conventions. For years he has provided his services to one or the other councils or to both for the printing of their council bulletins.
Brother Isidore was initiated into the Knights of Columbus in 1959 and he received his Fourth Degree in 1965. He established the first circle of Columbian Squires in Yorkton in 1964 and was the chief counsellor of the circle for a number of years. This was only one of the numbers of interests he cultivated which reached out into many parts of our community.
In recognition of his work to enhance higher education in particular, a scholarship fund will be established the Brother Isidore Scholarship is made available in our area. The Scholarship recognizes and encourages vocations as well as attendance at Catholic Universities by the recipient. After nearly a lifetime in Saskatchewan and nearly 30 years in connection with education in Yorkton, Brother Isidore left Yorkton in order to work in administration of the Christian Brothers Order in Toronto.