S. Idella Cooke, who is 103 years old, can’t recall the year she was born but ask her the year she was professed and she enthusiastically recalls, “1940”. S. Idella, from Reserve Mines, NS, began her ministry in teaching in 1934 at Saint Charles School in Amherst, NS. Even though she says all her missions were special, she speaks highly of her time with the First Nations children in Cranbrook, BC and with “the girls” at Saint Brigid’s in Quebec.
After teaching for 20 years, she was put in charge of housekeeping services at the Halifax Infirmary and Saint Joseph Convent, both in Halifax, NS, and then at Immaculata Hospital in Westlock, AB. She returned to Halifax in 1981and now lives at Parkstone Enchanced Care.
When asked what her secret to a long life is, she says, “The love of God and hard work. That’s the answer to it … be happy at your work.” What brings her joy? “I am faithful to my prayer life every day,” she says. “I come back to my room after dinner and I brush my teeth. I sit down and I say my Rosary. After my Rosary, I take my book and I make a holy hour. I’m finished at 2pm and then I put on the radio.”
Insisting that she is too young to talk about being 103, she says with a laugh and joyful smile, “I’ve had a good life and I’ve loved every bit of it.”