Whether the Saskatchewan Roughriders are 6-0 or 0-6, nuns at the St. Angela Merici residence in Saskatoon continue to back their favourite CFL team and they hope the power of prayer turns the ship around.
Sister Rosetta Reniger and Sister Adelaide Fortowsky have watched every minute of the Riders’ winless season in their little room known building-wide as the Rider Roost. They have a routine: an Our Father before the game and spontaneous ‘please God’s’ throughout the four quarters.
“We pray for sure before every game and sometimes during the game we pray to God, please let this happen or please don’t let that happen,” Reiniger said. “Usually it’s pretty simple like: Please God, help the defense hold them or please God, please help the quarterback make this throw.”
Reiniger said she usually gets it right, but this season the players haven’t been too responsive to her calls for game-changing plays.
With about 21 sisters aligning with the Green and White, when the game is on, everyone is on the edge of their seat anxious for a touchdown or a defensive stoppage. And if the game goes into overtime, the sisters go as far as to push the evening prayer until after the game.
“We have a common prayer at 4:45 p.m. and God forgives us because we will watch the final part of the game and say our prayer afterwards – we have to see what happens and we pray later,” Reiniger said.
Following a 2013 Grey Cup win, the Sisters managed to pop some green popcorn. After falling short last season with the absence of starting quarterback Darian Durant, they believed his return this season would put the Riders back in the Grey Cup, but then Durant got injured in the first game and like fans across the province, their hearts sunk.
“We were devastated because he had just come back and he was starting to take over and the team was responding so well and then just like that, and poor Kevin Glenn, he was doing well and now he’s injured,” Reiniger said.
Despite a goose-egg finding a home in the Riders’ win column, the sisters encourage fans not to back away from their team, encouraging fans to stay behind their team because it’s times like these where the team needs its fans the most.
“Right now it’s looking kind of bad and a lot of the fans are getting very upset but I don’t think we should be upset. So we’ve lost six games and we might lose seven, but win or lose they are our Riders our Saskatchewan Roughriders and we need to love them regardless and we need to keep behind them and we might not end up in first play hopefully we’ll make the playoffs.”
Over the years the Sisters have gained a lot of Rider memorabilia including signed photos of Durant and Don Narcisse. Ex-head coach Ken Miller also sent the Sisters a signed football with the entire 2009 roster.
Fans since the 80s, the Sisters have seen their fair share of poor seasons, and they’re confident the winning ways will return sooner rather than later.
“We do not give up hope they are our Riders and they will do well and we love them whether they win the grey cup this year or next year.”
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