On February 18, 2022

a poem by The Honourable Dr. Mayann Francis, ONS; author of Mayann Francis: An Honourable Life, One Summer in Whitney Pier & Mayann’s Train Ride


Clothilda, Clothilda, Clothilda!

You left us when we were

Not expecting you to

Go away and not come back!

I did not believe

You left us.

I dream so I thought

I was sleeping

But I was not

I was awake

The reality!

My idol was gone

You grew up in Whitney Pier

Me to.

Whitney Pier diverse

Immigrants from everywhere

Prepared your foundation

For change

You, the first African Nova Scotian nurse,

You with the Order of Canada

The Order of Nova Scotia

Honourary Doctorate CBU and Honourary Diploma NSCC

Harry Jerome Award and a diamond

Queens Diamond Jubilee

Plus much more

Your beautiful face

Your beautiful hair

Your beautiful body

Your kindness

Your smile


But your spirit, your legacy is

Not gone from your family

Not gone from my heart

Not gone from my mind

Not gone from our history

Because you are Nova Scotia’s history

You are Canada’s history

You are Grenada’s history

Decades ago

A long time ago

Your vision

Your journey

Was God’s call

For action

For compassion

For caring

You showed determination

For fairness

You demonstrated greatness

You fought racism, sexism

And environmental abuse

You showed love

You brought about positive change

Your spiritual foundation

Helped you lead the way

You climbed up the ladder

To success.

You jumped over

The wall of Racism

And inequity

You lived the life God wanted

You did not waste your education and talents

You opened many doors

To help others, regardless of colour and gender

In life there are challenges

We must discern what it means

And learn

It is not only about why

But also about understanding

When we face challenges

We sometimes feel a sense of loss

Especially if we think our prayers

Are not answered or

Perhaps we did not pray!

Clothilda you understood many challenges

Both personal and public

And you demonstrated

Strategies to meet challenges

With positive outcomes

Clothilda Adessa


Motivator, Leader

Charmer, respectful

Inspirational, spiritual, courageous.

A nice dignified lady

Jesus Christ crucifixion sixth word

It is finished.

God called Jesus home

Jesus said, “I completed the work thou gave me to do”

God called Clothilda home

April 15, 2021

She completed God’s call to life

Of caring, compassion and Love of God and society.

She lived each day

To the fullest

She fulfilled God’s purpose.

In the words of Jesus Christ

It is finished.

We thank you God

For sending Clothilda.

A beautiful gift to

A Challenging world.

Her light will shine forever

Rest in peace.



Poem by The Honourable Dr. Mayann Francis, ONS

August 13, 2021

Words from The Honourable Dr. Mayann Francis, ONS on observing Black History Month

There are many people that I admire.  I decided to select two women who have had a lasting impact on my life. When I think about all the people who I admire I wonder if perhaps I should write a book about them because there are many individuals who I admire.

The two deceased women I admired and still do are:  Beverly Mascoll and Clothilda Yakimchuk.   Here is my story.


Dr. Beverly Mascoll, OC 1941-2001

Beverly Mascoll was my friend, role, model, and mentor. She was a very successful businesswoman. In my memoir, Mayann Francis, An Honourable Life, published in 2019, I dedicated Chapter 6 to Beverly. In addition to being a successful entrepreneur, I wanted people to know what an intelligent, kind, honest, caring and compassionate person she was. She cared about community. Education, equity and justice were always on her agenda. She was a very humble individual. She surprised me when she nominated me for the Harry Jerome Award for professional excellence which I received in 2000. I was so deeply moved as well as surprised by her nomination.   She told me that I deserved the award.

Beverly was born in Fall River, Nova Scotia. She and her family moved to Ontario in the 50s.   Beverly remained successful, loved, and respected by so many people of different race, gender, nationality, orientation, religion, disability, political beliefs, age and so many others.

If you want to know about her you can Google her name and/or read my story about her in my memoir. Even though she has been gone for 20 years she is always in my mind and heart. In the words of Maya Angelou, my dear friend was a “phenomenal woman.” I miss her and I thank her for the positive influence she had on my life.


Clothilda Yakimchuk, OC, ONS 1932-2021

Clothillda Yakimchuk was born and raised in Sydney, Whitney Pier, Cape Breton. I was also born and raised in Whitney Pier. She was the first African Canadian to graduate from Nursing School in Nova Scotia. She was also the first Black person to be president of the Nova Scotia Registered Nurses Association.

Clothilda was very special. And she was very humble. She cared about communities and worked very hard to promote equity and justice. She emphasized the importance of education, helping individuals and the wider communities.

When I spoke at her memorial service, I wrote the attached poem about her. I admired her not only for her achievements in life, but also because she was kind, respectful, intelligent, beautiful, honest and humble.   She leaves behind a positive legacy. Thank you, Clothilda.