Sr. Anitra was born in Regina’s Grey Nuns Hospital (now Pasqua Hospital) to Danish parents who had emigrated from Denmark to Canada during the Great Depression. She was christened in the United Church as there was no Lutheran Church in Regina at that time. The family made the big move to Toronto in 1938 and they found a Danish Lutheran Church on Wellesley Street – St. Ansgar Lutheran, but the family later switched to Bloor Street United Church.
In the early 1960’s, she was confirmed at St. John’s Norway Anglican Church. She attended Toronto’s Central Technical School for Commercial Art courses and later the University of Toronto Fine Arts program. She taught art at Glen Ames and Fairmount Park Senior Public Schools.
Her initial contact with SSJD came in 1962, but she had the impression that she needed first to be a nurse – not a personal interest of hers. She was next introduced in 1975 by an Associate, and knew then that she was meant for the religious life and this order. However, the tragic accidental death of her brother and the sudden death of her Father shortly thereafter forced a postponement.
Finally entering the Order on October 25, 1977, Sr. Anitra has worked in the kitchen, the laundry, housekeeping, as a Guest Sister, Librarian, Archives Sister, and Retreats Director. She has been a Spiritual Director and an Assessor on ACPO, and has served at the Branch Houses in Edmonton, Cana Place, Victoria (twice) and Montreal. In the early days in community, she did some painting and small clay sculptures. As time went on, assignments intervened and she has not done anything in this creative area in recent years.
Currently, she is Spiritual Care Sister at St. John’s Rehab Hospital, a ministry she particularly loves. Throughout her life, Sr. Anitra says she has been particularly influenced by her Father and his attitude that clearly said to her – “be who you are and YOU decide what you want to do.”