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Stories:  New Brunswick's Roman Catholic
Woman Priest

Kim Sylvester ordained a Roman Catholic Women Priest - April 2010


Kim Sylvester, born and raised in Maine, now makes her home with Robert Rinfret, her French-Canadian husband, in Woodstock, NB after 17 years in British Columbia and 5 years in Gatineau, Quebec.

Ordained in April 2010, she developed and led LIVING WORD Inclusive Faith Community in Duncan , B.C., where she lived for many years and was active with other clergy women (various churches) in a meditation group. Her favorite memory of that time is the ministry she developed in a public coffee shop, which was a first for the region!

For many years Kim was a college and university teacher in history of art, architecture, and culture.  Before art history she trained to become a musician and vocalist, which for many years led her to sing and teach choirs in parishes, giving much time and effort to develop liturgical music, both in Quebec and on Vancouver Island. Her background with the ALPEC program of the Archdiocese of Quebec, where she participated in this unique liturgy training program for ten years, still imbues her with the desire to continue to teach and share the benefits of this learning, especially in today’s Church climate of returning to the past.

In a non-specific way, her call to ministry came early; after growing up in the Baptist church and becoming a Catholic at 19, she continued to desire to follow Jesus.  This culminated finally in a mystical experience of call, a call to serve and support justice for women in all areas of life. “I didn’t know exactly how it would develop in my life, but was confident that God would show me!”    

Herstory of the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement

The Roman Catholic Women Priests is a renewal movement within the Roman Catholic Church that began in Germany with the ordination of seven women on the Danube River in 2002.

In 2003, Gisela Forster and Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger (two of the original Danube 7) were ordained bishops and in 2005 Patricia Fresen from South Africa (who currently lives in Germany) was also ordained a bishop.  Women Bishops ordained in Apostolic Succession continue to carry out the work of ordaining women in the Roman Catholic Church.

Danube Seven Ordination 2002
Photo montage of 2002 ordinations

The first Canadian woman to be ordanined to the priesthood, Michele Birch Conery, was ordained on the St. Lawrence River in 2005.  In 2007, at the first ordination to be held on land, Marie Evans Bouclin was ordained to the priesthood.  Monica Kilburn Smith and James Lauder were ordained to the priesthood in 2008.  In 2010, Kim Sylvester, Rose Mewhort and Linda Spear were ordained to the priesthood.  In 2011, Marie Bouclin was ordained bishop for Canada in a ceremony held near Stuttgart, Germany.  Co-presiding bishops were Patricia Fresen, Gisela Forster, Ida Raming, Joan Houk, Andrea Johnson and Regina Nicolosi.  Since then, Marie has ordained to the priesthood Roberta Fuller (2011), Ruth Wasylenko (2012), Victoria Marie (2012), and Catherine O’Connor (2013).  In 2013, Marie welcomed into RCWP Canada two former Anglican priests, Carol and Ray Canton.  Subsequent ordinations are: Jane Kryzanowski (2015) and Orpha (Catacomb) and Patricia Cook in 2016.

Canadian Ordinations

RCWP Canada has ordained priests in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.  Also, Associates, non-ordained persons who are full-fledged members of RCWP Canada help with the work of preparing, supporting, and ordaining those who are called by the Holy Spirit and their communities to a new model of Roman Catholic priesthood and Christian community.

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