Sandra Ollsin, MA
Certified Funeral Celebrant
Sandra Ollsin was born and raised in Victoria, British Columbia. Her professional background includes working as a medical herbalist and healer, counsellor, teacher, public speaker, workshop leader, writer, large-event organizer and manager. She continues her long-time study of death & dying (thanatology), grief, process-oriented psychology, spirituality, science, religion and philosophy. Sandra holds both a BA in Professional Communication and a MA in Intercultural & International Communication. She specializes in interfaith communication. Her thesis research, Between Worlds: Communication Perspectives of Female Funeral Celebrants in British Columbia can be viewed here. The work was honoured in 2012 with the Lorna Malcolmson Award for Best Multimodal Thesis.
Sandra served as a Victoria Hospice volunteer for five years. There, she received Advanced Spiritual Care training, helped orient new volunteers, supported patients both on the In-Patient Unit and out in the community, and provided one-on-one mourner support through the Bereavement Office. Sandra participated as panel member and workshop leader at the Victoria Hospice 2010 Spiritual Care Conference speaking on how to personalize end-of-life services. She has also presented at numerous academic conferences on the subjects of funeral celebrants, liminal states of consciousness during grief, and the movement of cremated remains throughout North America.
She was trained and certified as a Funeral Celebrant in 2002, by Mr. Doug Manning, a highly-respected leader of the Celebrant movement in North America, and has performed hundreds of end-of-life rituals and ceremonies to date. Sandra is a member of both the Victoria Hospice Society and the British Columbia Palliative Care Association. She is also a member of SIETAR BC, a society for intercultural education, training and research.
Sandra's Funeral Celebrant work helps people create, design and facilitate personalized end-of-life rituals and ceremonies. These include funerals, memorials, celebration of life tributes as well as graveside and interment gatherings.
Her personal interests include culture, travel, writing, gardening, deep exploration of the human psyche, reading, and celebrating life as much as possible. She's happily married with three children and two grandchildren.
“To say thank you just falls short of what you have done for us. We truly feel that your guidance allowed us to honour our mother/wife in a manner that suited her. Thank you for making this day a creative and healing ritual celebrating Mom's life.”
B., L., P. K & J., Victoria
“I wanted to thank you so much for your total participation in the celebration of _____'s life. I truly thought it was probably the best and most heart-warming service I have ever been at. From start to end it was wonderful; the ceremony will stay in my mind forever. Thank you again.”
“Sandra, thanks so much for all of your well thought out and sensitive remarks at the service. I had many people comment on what a great job you did. You satisfied everyone's spiritual needs and that was important to us all. My mom would have loved the tribute.”
D., C., & P., Victoria
“What really makes or breaks this kind of thing is your personality. I've done public speaking all of my life, and your personality really shone through. You're the right kind of person for this work.”
“I had no idea this kind of service was available. I thought the tribute was incredibly fitting for ______. What a wonderful way for someone to be honoured/remembered after they die.”
“I had the pleasure of hearing you do _________'s Celebration of Life service. You handled everything so beautifully. I'm just so incredibly impressed. I've never heard anybody do anything as well as you did. I'm going to be cashing-in one of these days and I'd like to have you do my service. Again, congratulations --- you did such a fabulous job; I just couldn't believe it, it was so wonderful.”