Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 20th 2015 Contents SUNDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2015
Sister Annetta Alexander is a nun with the
Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny, whose head-
quarters are at The Provincialate at St Joseph s
Convent in Port-of-Spain.
She has been the Provincial Leader since
2009, a lecturer at the University of the West
Indies Open Campus, St Augustine, since
2000, and principal at St Xavier s Private
School since 2002. She was the principal of
Sacred Heart Girls RC School from 1994 to
2002, having started as a teacher in 1986.
Sr Alexander is also chairperson of the Cluny
Central Board of Education---under whose
purview is the running of the St Joseph s Con-
vent in Port-of-Spain, San Fernando and St
Joseph; Providence Catholic School and two
private primary schools, Maria Regina and St
Xavier s in St Joseph, as well as schools in
Grenada, St Vincent and St Lucia.
She is president elect of the T&T Reading
Association, president of the Conference of
Religious of the Antilles 2015 and has been
vice president of the Girl Guides Association
of T&T since 2013, representing that organ-
isation at events in Cyprus, Costa Rica, Jordan,
South Africa and London.
The Sunday Guardian recently caught up
with the very busy Sr Annetta for her reflec-
tions:Q: Tell us about your early years and
your family, where you were born,
where you grew up?
A: I was born in Kathleen Street, St
James, and grew up in Upper Bournes
Road,in St James, with my mother
and father and four other siblings--- one boy,
the eldest, then myself and three others among
whom were twins.
At this Christmas time what message
would you like to give to T&T?
As Catholics, we celebrate the Advent season
in preparation for Christmas. During this time
we prepare spiritually for the coming of Christ,
we prepare our homes as well. My mind goes
back to Christmas at home when we spent
time preparing by way of cleaning, scrubbing,
painting. My mother sewed cushions, curtains
and the works. The Sacrament of Reconciliation
was always on the list. Then came time for
the cooking of all the Christmas fare. We girls
were all involved, assisting my mother with
the cooking and baking.
One thing that stands out is the fact that
my mother encouraged us to take time to
think of others who might be less fortunate.
She therefore allowed me to invite someone
who was not as fortunate as we were to come
home to share Christmas with us. I always
opted to go to the orphanage to bring home
one of the children. On one occasion I asked
for one child, only to be told that the particular
child had a sister and a brother and they did
not want them separated. You can imagine
my mother s face when instead of walking in
with one child I walked in with three children.
So instead of having seven mouths to feed,
she had ten but we made do. Actually we
extended this to the school holidays as well.
If every family would do this, there would be
fewer lonely people at this time.
When and how did you receive your calling
to become a nun?
My call to the convent I can say came about
by simply asking God each time I prayed to
tell me what he wanted me to do with my
life. I knew I wanted to teach, but how to live
out that dream of being a teacher was not in
my thoughts. Then one day after I left school,
while teaching at the Mucurapo Girls Primary
School, I distinctly heard the call to religious
life. After attending a come and see session
to which I was invited by the Sisters of St
Joseph of Cluny, I knew then that God had
answered my prayer. Six months later, I entered
the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny Novitiate in
Arouca. After three years in training I was
sent to various islands to teach for brief periods
of time, then on to the Catholic Women s
Training College where I prepared for my
Who were the people who have influenced
you the most?
I was heavily influenced by my mother, who
I saw as a woman of strength with a deter-
mination to let nothing prevent her from
achieving her dreams. She was a prayerful
woman. I witnessed her getting down on her
knees in our home and praying to God for her
needs and those of her family. She encouraged
us to pray together as a family. She, with my
father, accompanied us to Mass every Sun-
She taught us to make do with what we
had. She never borrowed from anyone so she
owed no one. We learned to do without that
which she and my father were unable to give
us. And above all she taught us never to be
envious of what other people had because one
never knew how they achieved it.
I have been influenced by my youngest sister
who seemed to possess some of the virtues
I wish I had, for example, that of gentleness,
and thoughtfulness and being very sociable.
I was also influenced by a few close friends
who strive for excellence in all that they do,
who are simple in their lifestyle and generous.
I also surround myself with people who are
What attracted you to your order?
I was attracted to the Sisters of St Joseph
of Cluny, I think, for the simple reason that
I went to Providence Girls where I was taught
by Sr Regina, who is a sister of St Joseph of
Cluny. The principal, Sr Pius, was a sister of
St Joseph of Cluny, so I guess that drew me
to the congregation.
My desire to give service led me to Girl
Guiding, so I became involved in the Girl
Guides Association of T&T where today I am
the president. I see guiding as an organisation
whose objective is the development of the
young women of our country, helping them
to reach their fullest potential and do their
part in service of God and their country. This
WITH NASSER KHAN
Continues on page B4
Sr Annetta Alexander, left, proudly displays her trophy to commemorate her 50 years in the
religious profession, at the Sacred Heart Girls' RC School, Port-of-Spain, on August 1.
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