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People and organizations
Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph - London

Assembly

  • Corporate body
  • 1990- 2009

Chapter meetings happened every four years and were the most official gatherings of the Sisters. A Chapter is the formal, decision making body of the congregation at which the leadership council is elected, and decisions are taken by the membership as a whole. Assemblies happened in the middle period between Chapters, in other words every two years. Assemblies were meant as a time to get together, to discuss decisions made at Chapters, to make or evaluate new potential decisions, and to prepare for major works to do at the next Chapter. This was also the time for celebration and prayer. Assembly meetings lasted for two days.

Assembly meetings were a necessary part of the congregation’s government structure. For every Assembly, a summary was written about what had been discussed, or questioned, or proposed during the meeting. The documentation was often accompanied by photos of participants.

Awards

  • Corporate body
  • 1999-2012

The Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in London, Ontario, has received awards from external organizations recognizing their contributions and leadership, and for their significant contribution to Canadian communities and fellow Canadians. The Sisters of St. Joseph received the “Women of Distinction Lifetime Achievement Award” for more than 130 years of distinguished service. They received the “Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal” for persons who have made a significant contribution to Canada to their community or to their fellow Canadians. This medal was created to mark the 50th anniversary of the accession of Her Majesty to the throne. Two Sisters received the “Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal” in 2012 for their anti-poverty advocacy, community leadership, and support of affordable housing. The Sisters of St. Joseph received the “Leading Women, Building Communities” award for their exceptional community leadership to improve the lives of women and girls in Ontario.

Community Communications

  • Corporate body
  • 1947-2014

The newsletters in this series were produced as a way of communicating to Sisters living in the Motherhouse and also in convents in the places in which they were missioned. Before email communication became more common, the physical newsletters were the primary source for congregational news. The various newsletters have different authors. Three authors of note are General Superiors Mother Margaret Coughlin (1947-1959), Mother Julia Moore (1959-1971), and Sister Katherine McKeough (1979-1987).
Mother Margaret Coughlin had a significant impact on the congregation particularly with regard to community projects. During her tenure, the St Mary’s Hospital building project was completed, Catholic Central High School was opened, new Constitutions were approved, and sod was turned for a new Motherhouse at Mount St. Joseph. In addition, various new homes and missions were established for Sisters.

Mother Julia Moore was a great leader in the congregation. She was highly educated, and served as a teacher before assuming leadership of the Sisters of St. Joseph of London. The Sisters recognized Mother Julia as a true mystic who led the Congregation through the Second Vatican Council. After her time as General Superior, Mother Julia served as a general councillor, health care coordinator of the community, and finally as Superior at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Sister Katherine McKeough trained as a nurse and spent most of her life in hospital ministry. She eventually obtained a Masters of Science in Adult Psychology at Boston University, which enabled her to be a clinical supervisor in psychiatry. She held various positions at St. Joseph’s Hospital and served on various associations and committees related to health and religious life. As General Superior, Sister Katherine is remembered for her unconditional acceptance of others and belief in people’s goodness. After her term as General Superior, Sister Katherine worked to improve the situation of homeless women.

Ferris, Sister Margaret

  • Person
  • May 25, 1931-November 12, 2017

Born Mary Margaret Ferris in London in 1931, Sister Margaret Ferris was a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, who has spent much of her life furthering her education and ministry. In particular, she has been a reformer and innovator of prayer, community involvement, and spiritual direction at the Congregation. She also published a book titled Compassioning: Basic Counselling Skills for Christian Caregivers in 1993, and various articles pertaining to spiritual direction and community living and involvement.

Sister Margaret Ferris was involved in her local parish at an early age and was especially encouraged in her faith by her grandmother, who lived with the Ferris family. At a young age she began to consider entering religious life. She completed upper school at St. Angela’s College in 1950 and graduated in the first class to ever graduate from Catholic Central High School in 1951. At age twenty-two, after working as a legal secretary, she joined the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph. After the completion of her novitiate, she attended the University of Western Ontario where she completed her B.A. in 1959, and Master’s degree in Education in 1977. In 1959, she began her teaching career as a high school teacher.

She continued to advance in her career in the 1960s. She became vice-principal of St. Patrick’s High School in Sarnia in 1963, and then principal of Mount St. Joseph Academy in 1966. During the 1960s, she continued to further her own education. She studied during the summer months at the University of Notre Dame. There she received a Master’s degree in Science in 1968. She also became a leader of spiritual renewal at the Congregation, which resulted in a strengthening of her own prayer life.

In 1972, she resigned as principal of Mount St. Joseph Academy, and with three other Sisters, established Internos, a home for troubled teenage girls, who experienced family difficulties or substance abuse. Her ministry evolved as she became exposed to, and involved in family and community life. In 1977, she became Director of the Congregation’s Medaille Retreat House. During this time, she was also completing her Master’s degree in Counselling at the University of Western Ontario part-time. During this time, she continued to broaden her experience and understanding of spiritual direction and contemplative spirituality.

In 1978, she was elected to the Congregation’s General Council while still maintaining her position at the Retreat House where she worked alongside individuals of other Christian denominations. In 1984, she studied for a year at the Institute for Creation-Centred Spirituality in California where she obtained a Master’s degree in Spirituality and Culture. She marks this as the richest experience of community in her life, which strengthened and broadened her own spiritual understanding and life.

When she returned to London in 1985, she was asked to join St. Peter’s Seminary as a faculty member in the positions of teacher, counsellor, and Formation Director for Lay Ministry. This was another fulfilling experience for Sister Margaret Ferris as she was able to influence the development of the Church and to give empowerment/influence to the laity. She held this position for over ten years. In 1992 she obtained her Doctor of Ministry in Spiritual Direction at the Graduate Theological Foundation, and in 2007 she received an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from the same institution.

Sister Margaret Ferris also dedicated a portion of her life to travelling. From 1959-1963, she made various trips around Ontario and northern U.S.A. In 1981, she travelled to Peru and Florida. In 1990, she and other Sisters visited Rome where she also met Pope John Paul II and received a rosary from him. In 2003, she made a pilgrimage to Le Puy, France, from where the Sisters of St. Joseph originally came. In 2004, she was honoured as one of the seven Golden Jubilarians in the Congregation.

Gagner, Sister Eveline

  • Person
  • 1917-2020

Sister Eveline Gagner was born in Chatham, Ontario on July 3, 1917. She was one of five children born to Dieudonne Gagner of Tilbury, Ontario and Marie Helene Caron of Dover Township, Kent County, Ontario. Her sister, Viola Marie Blanche, also entered the Congregation, and was given the religious name Yvonne.

Sister Eveline received her B.A. from Assumption University, Windsor in 1963, and her M.A. in Theology from the University of Windsor in 1972. She received a diploma from Lumen Vitae in Brussels. Following this, she received the Attestation d’Etudes: Recherche en Catéchèse from the University of Montreal in 1967. Three years later, in 1970, she received her Attestation d’Etudes: Perfectionnement en Religion from the University of Sherbrooke. Sister Eveline attended the EXODUS program in St. Louis Missouri, during a sabbatical period in 1988.

As well as her academic training, Sister Eveline holds her permanent teaching certificates for French and English. She taught from 1939 to 1979 in separate schools in Ontario, in London, Windsor, Belle River and Sarnia, and held positions as principal as well during this time. From 1969 to 1973, she served as the religion consultant for the Roman Catholic Separate School Board in Windsor, Ontario. From 1979 to 1982 Sister Eveline worked in the field of adult faith education as a catechist in the Stratford Deanery, followed by pastoral ministry at St. Andrew’s Parish in London from 1982 to 1988. Sister Eveline served as a volunteer in various capacities, including as a hospital visitor and ministering to the poor.

Galahad Hospital, Alta.

  • Corporate body
  • 1927-1978

In 1927, following the Sisters of St. Joseph's exit from Stettler, Alberta, Archbishop Henry Joseph O'Leary decided that a hospital was greatly needed in Galahad, Alberta. His request for one was granted by the General Superior and her Council, and in 1927, the Sisters of St. Joseph arrived in Galahad. At this time, the only building available to the Sisters was a small two story teacherage. The building, which had no plumbing, consisted of only six rooms and came with little to no equipment that could be used for medical purposes. The Sisters were thus frequently required to improvise and make-do with what was available. During these early years in Galahad, the government provided no financial aid to the Sisters; consequently, they depended on funding provided to them by the community and via bank loans.

Throughout 1927, increasing numbers of settlers arrived in Galahad, Alberta. At times, this led to crowding within the existing hospital and to a heavier workload for the Sisters. Sister Jane Frances O'Rourke and Mother Patricia Coughlin are said to have played crucial roles during this time. Due to the growing role of the hospital and because of space constraints, plans for a new hospital building were soon underway.

In 1927, Mr. Hugh Taylor, (the sole real estate agent in Galahad), offered the Sisters four and a half acres of land on which to build their new hospital. Following this acquisition of land, bids were tendered and the C. Gordon Company of Vegreville won the construction job. The Wheatland Municipality contributed $2,500 to construction costs. The new building, which consisted of two stories, a brick interior and large grounds, was officially opened by His Grace Archbishop O'Leary on September 3rd, 1928.

In 1932, the average number of patients was 20, and most were from the towns of Galahad, Forestburg, and Alliance. The first doctors to work in the hospital were Dr. Maynes and Dr. A.J. Cook. In 1947, Sister Loyola Donovan became Administrator and Sister Genevieve Casey became Superior of the Galahad community.

In 1953, having conferred with the community, the Sisters advised that a new building was once again needed. They requested that a new structure be built - one that could house 45 beds and a 10 bed bassinet nursery. In 1953, having won the contract, Burns and Dutton started work on the project with Mr. Alex Fellows in the role of construction superintendent. The cost of the new building was estimated at $250,000 and was funded through a long-term loan from the Bank of Montreal in Forestburg. In September 1954, the new building was officially opened and blessed by Monsignor Carleton.

In 1955, renovations to the old hospital were undertaken. Upon completion of the renovations, the building became living accommodations for the Sisters. During this time, the Chapel was also relocated nearer to the new hospital and later blessed by Archbishop MacDonald in May, 1955.

In 1962, an Advisory Board was established that included local business men and district farmers. This Board was meant to advise and assist the Sisters with matters regarding the hospital as well as provincial and municipal affairs.

On August 4th, 1973, St. Joseph's Hospital in Galahad was granted full accreditation. Toward the end of the 1970s, many physicians were leaving rural practice and vacancies created by retirees were not being filled. In the meantime, the Sisters also faced staffing problems. Since Vatican II, more professions and apostolates had become available to Sisters which resulted in a decline of health care apostolates. All of these changes led the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph to re-evaluate their ownership of St. Joseph's Hospital, Galahad.

On August 31st, 1979, the Sisters of St. Joseph gave up their ownership of St. Joseph's Hospital, Galahad. Thereafter, ownership was transferred by the Department of the Ministry of Health to Flagstaff-Hughendan Hospital District #55. During the period the Sisters administered the hospital, it grew from 23 beds in 1945 to 40 beds in 1978.

Hartleib, Sister Mary Anthony

  • Person
  • February 10, 1924- June 23, 2008

Sister Mary Anthony Hartleib (nee Mary Anne Lenore) was born in Stratford, Ontario on February 10, 1924. She was the daughter of Charles Henry Hartleib and Loretta Durand. Her stepmother was Mary Hartleib of Waterloo, Ontario. Mary Anne Lenore Hartleib joined the congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of London, Ontario and received the habit on July 2, 1965. She made her first vows on July 2, 1966 and her final vows on May 30, 1971 in the Chapel at Mount St. Joseph. She was given the religious name Sister Mary Anthony. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in art and theology at the University of Windsor in 1969, and then studied at Althouse College in London, Ontario. Sister Mary Anthony received a permanent teaching certificate in 1972, a supervisor’s certificate in art, and a teaching certificate in art and English. From 1970 until 1981, she supervised the art department at Mount St. Joseph Academy in London. She was appointed assistant bursar at Mount St. Joseph, but continued with art and the teaching of ceramics until 1985 when her art work took a new turn. Always interested in the spiritual, Sister Mary Anthony turned to iconography. She spent two years studying Chinese water colour painting, followed by three years of iconography. She was a scholar, a skilled teacher of art, and a passionate advocate of the way icons open the mystery of the sacred. Sister Mary Anthony became well known as an iconographer and maintained a studio in the Sisters’ residence after Mount St. Joseph Academy closed. For several years, she shared her knowledge of iconography with the seminarians at St. Peter’s Seminary in London. The community of the Sisters of St. Joseph moved to 485 Windermere Road in 2007, where Sister Mary Anthony occupied her own art studio. Three of her icons, including that of the Blessed Trinity, were placed in the Chapel at the new residence. After a very short illness, Sister Mary Anthony died in the care centre at the Sisters’ Residence on June 23, 2008. Her funeral Mass of Resurrection was celebrated in St. Joseph Chapel in the residence at 485 Windermere Road. Father Frank O’Connor of St. Peter’s Seminary was the main celebrant. Sister Mary Anthony was buried in St. Peter’s cemetery in London.

Jubilees

  • Corporate body
  • 1932-2017

Jubilees are celebrations, where Sisters renew their vows and celebrate their 25th, Golden (50th), Diamond (60th), Grace (70th), 75th and 80th year anniversaries with the congregation.

The jubilee date is calculated from the reception date which takes place nine months after the postulant entered the convent. At the reception ceremony, the postulant received the habit.

Jubilees are celebrated one to two times a year, depending on the number of Sisters celebrating anniversaries. When there are two jubilee ceremonies in one-year, younger Sisters are recognized in May, and senior Sisters are honoured in September. Unless the Sisters decide that they want a private jubilee, friends and family are invited to the hour-long mass and large feast that make up the day of celebration.

Reunions, where Sisters who left the congregation were invited to return for visitation, occurred far less frequently than jubilees. The last reunion took place when the congregation was moving to a new convent in 2007, and wanted to give former Sisters one last chance to walk through the building. Much like jubilees, reunions were a day long event, with an hour-long prayer service and lots of good food.

Kirwin, Sister Mary Leo

  • Person
  • January 7, 1922-November 26, 2015

Sister Mary Leo Kirwin was born Mary Margaret Kirwin in Ingersoll, Ontario on January 7, 1922 to Leo Joseph Kirwin and Mae Henesey. Mary attended Sacred Heart School from 1936-1940 and Ingersoll Collegiate Institute from 1940-1942. She then completed her teacher training at London Normal School from 1941-1942. After earning her teaching certificate, she spent the summer of 1942 working in a munitions factory, but began teaching in September of that year. Her teaching career began at RCSS #2 in Clinton, Ontario. She then taught at Sacred Heart School in Ingersoll from 1944-1946, and later moved to St. Mary’s School from 1946-1947. On July 2, 1947, Mary Kirwin entered the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph and received the habit. She took the name Sister Mary Leo on January 3, 1948, and made her first vows on January 3, 1950. She took her final vows on January 3, 1953.

Sr. Mary Leo Kirwin worked as a teacher from 1950-1953 at the Holy Rosary School in London, Ontario. From 1953-1957, she served at this school as the principal. She moved to Simcoe to be a teacher and principal at St. Mary’s Catholic School from 1957-1961. During this time, Sr. Mary Leo also attended the University of Western Ontario and obtained her B.A. in 1958. From 1961-1965, she taught at St. Louis School, Riverside in Windsor. She remained in Windsor from 1965 to 1967, where she taught at F.J. Brennan Catholic High School. She then returned to London and became a teacher and head of the home economics department at Mount St. Joseph Academy from 1969-1983. While she was teaching in London, she graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honours Specialist in Home Economics in 1980.

In 1983, Sr. Mary Leo was called to move to Edmonton to serve as the General Superior of St. Joseph’s Convent and act as coordinator of Western Houses, a role in which she served until 1989. While living at the Edmonton Regional House in 1987, Sister Mary Leo became involved with the People In Need Shelter Society during a housing crisis. Along with Sister Alice Caswell and Sister Olga Barilko, she worked with disabled people. She also worked with the poor alongside Sister Esther Lucier. Her involvement grew and eventually the Society named a house for homeless men and women after her (the Kirwin Lucier House). From 1989-1991, she took up a new role at Elizabeth Place, a home for needy women in Edmonton. She was also involved with the Elizabeth Fry Society where she worked with prison women doing handiwork and visiting. In 1991, she returned to London, where she served as the general treasurer at Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse until 1998. In addition, she was on the local leadership council. Although she retired in 1998, Sr. Mary Leo Kirwin still provided relief for Sr. Veronica Cooke at Elaine Lucas Place from 1999-2001. The Elaine Lucas Place in London is a 45 bed residence for the homeless on Little Simcoe Street with which Sr. Mary Leo Kirwin was affiliated.

Sr. Mary Leo was involved in many committees throughout her life, including the Elizabeth Fry Society in Edmonton, L.I.F.T. Housing in London, and the Congregational bursary, donations, and strategic planning committees. She was also a community representative on the Red Cross Board.

One of her lasting contributions was her work with a low-income housing organization in Edmonton, the Edmonton Inner City Housing Society. The society opened its first project, a five-bedroom house in the McCauley neighbourhood and 30 years later, the year Sr. Mary Leo died, the same Edmonton Inner City Housing Society had grown to the point where it owned and managed more than 20 housing developments. These houses provided shelter for individuals and families, and supported 500 people in 300 housing units in inner city neighbourhoods.

Sr. Mary Leo also, as a result of visiting at Edmonton Women’s Prison, saw the need for post-incarceration housing for women. The Congregation bought a house, known as Elizabeth House, with a Sister serving as housemother. Later, they purchased another house called Tess’s House, with Sister Theresa Carmel Slavik serving as housemother for at risk young adults.

The Kirwin-Lucier House, which opened in 1993 in Edmonton, is a housing project of the Edmonton People in Need Shelter Society and provides a home for people with chronic mental disorders or substance abuse. It was named after Sisters Mary Leo Kirwin and Esther Lucier for their contributions to the society and its clients.

Sister Mary Leo was an expert at needlework, sewing of all kinds, quilting, upholstery, caning, and gardening. In 1976, her students at Mount St. Joseph Academy made an Olympic quilt which was presented to Prime Minister Trudeau. She continued making at least two quilts each year with a friend from the low cost housing development in London, until her death.

Sr. Mary Leo died November 26, 2015 in London, Ontario and is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery in London, Ontario.

Kuntz, Sister Mary Lillian

  • Person
  • December 30, 1935-October 23, 2015

Mary Lillian Kuntz was born in London, Ontario on December 30, 1935. She was the daughter of Edward J. Kuntz and Margaret H. Ward.

Mary Lillian attended St. Angela’s School in London from 1949-1950, and then Catholic Central High School in London from 1950-1953. She entered the Congregation on July 2, 1953 and received the habit and her religious name Dolores on January 3, 1954. She took her first vows on January 3, 1956 and her final vows on January 3, 1961. Sister Mary Lillian trained at London Teachers’ College from 1956-1957. Later, she attended the University of Windsor, obtaining her B.A. in 1965. This was followed by the completion of an M.A. in Educational Administration from Columbia University in New York in 1976. Almost a decade later, she completed a B.A. and J.C.L. in Canon Law from the University of Ottawa in 1985.

Sister Mary Lillian served as a teacher and principal in London from 1957-1972. She spent the summer of 1969 in Uganda, teaching mathematics to teachers. She then moved to Yellowknife, where she was principal at St. Patrick’s High School until 1977. During her time in the north, she also served as a bursar for the local religious community. She returned to London, and taught high school mathematics from 1978-1981. She then worked as an administrator at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse from 1981-1983.

Following this, Sister Mary Lillian studied canon law in Ottawa from 1983-1985, and then received several canonical appointments. She was the Associate Judge and substitute Defender of the Bond for the Vancouver Regional Tribunal, working through the Nelson, B.C. office in 1984. She then served as Judge and Defender of the Bond for the Nelson Marriage Tribunal after it became a distinct Diocesan Tribunal in 1985. She was appointed to the Disability Pension Committee for the Diocese of Nelson in 1985. In 1987, she was appointed Judge, Auditor and Notary on the Marriage Tribunal in Nelson. She held this position until 1993, when she also became the Director of the Marriage Tribunal. In 1996, she became the Director of the Nelson-Kamloops Interdiocesan Tribunal, still serving as a Judge and Auditor.

Sister Mary Lillian held other positions of service, including on the Diocesan Synod Steering Committee, the Diocesan Pastoral Council, the Diocesan Sexual Abuse Committee, and the Cathedral Liturgy Committee. She was the treasurer for the Sisters’ Council in the Diocese of Nelson. Sister Mary Lillian was also a world traveller.

Sister Mary Lillian died on October 23, 2015 in London Ontario and is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery, in the same city.

Luney, Dr. F. W.

  • Person
  • 1892-1987

Frederick Winnett (F. W.) Luney was the oldest child of Isabella and James S. Luney, born in 1892 in Middlesex, Ontario. He had three younger brothers: Oswald S., Russell H., and Willford R. In 1914, Luney graduated from the medical program at the University of Western Ontario. On May 12, 1916, he enlisted with the Canadian military in the Army Medical Services division, where he held the position of Lieutenant. Dr. Luney served as an intern at Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario, where he was appointed Senior Pathologist in 1917, a position he held until 1927. He was also appointed to the Institute of Public Health (London, Ontario) in the Division of Pathology and Bacteriology. On June 29, 1918, he married Cora E. Spettigue in London, Ontario. In 1927, Dr. Luney began work at St. Joseph’s Hospital (London, Ontario) as Director of Laboratories. In 1928, he established the Clinical Pathology Laboratory, known later as the Department of Laboratory Medicine (from 1960 to 1986). Dr. Luney was Secretary of the St. Joseph’s Hospital Nominating Committee from 1928 to 1930. From 1929 to 1961, he held the position of Clinical Laboratory Chief. Through experimentation on animals, Dr. Luney made great advances in blood transfusion techniques, and even pioneered a new blood transfusion apparatus, a “two-person multiple syringe” that allowed blood to flow directly from donor to patient. On March 19, 1945, Dr. Luney directed the opening of the Blood Bank Department at St. Joseph’s Hospital. He placed Sr. Leonarda Kelly, R. T. in charge of the department. Between 1941 and 1942, Dr. Luney was appointed the fourth President of the Ontario Association of Pathologists, a non-profit medical society committed to representing patients and pathologists, and promoting excellence in the practice of pathology. During his tenure at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Dr. Luney was a member of the First Library Committee (1931), Chief of Staff (1941-1943, 1952-1954), and a founding member of the Historical Committee (1950). He retired in 1961, after 34 years of medical service. In 1970, Dr. Luney established the Dr. F. W. Luney Fund, donating $5,000 for the purchase of supplies for the St. Joseph’s Hospital Medical Library. In addition to his work at both Victoria and St. Joseph’s, Dr. Luney established private pathology consulting services to smaller medical centres in St. Thomas (Ont.), Tillsonburg (Ont.), Chatham (Ont.), Sarnia (Ont.), and Brantford (Ont.). He was also an Associate Professor at the University of Western Ontario for 44 years. Dr. Luney died on February, 1987.

Mount Saint Joseph Academy

  • Corporate body
  • 1950-1985

The Mount Saint Joseph Academy was a school for girls directed by the Sisters of St. Joseph from 1950 to 1985. It was initially located at Sacred Heart Convent with a mere six students. In 1953, it moved to the newly built Mount St. Joseph convent property, opening in the former Hellmuth Ladies' College and Mount St. Joseph Orphanage building. At this time, there were 26 students but by 1957, this number had grown to 105 students. At this time, 80 girls resided at the school and 25 were day students. In 1958, the Academy was moved to a newly completed wing in the new Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse building.

The mission of the Academy was to provide secondary education for girls in which the Catholic faith was integrated into the curriculum and school life. Students had the option of being day students if they lived in the area or boarders if they came from far away. Students came from across Canada and 10%-15% came from other countries including the West Indies, Mexico, and Hong Kong.

Music was always an important part of life at the Academy, perhaps due to the influence of the St. Joseph’s School of Music which was also run by the Sisters. Students who wished to learn to play musical instruments did so on their own time, usually through the School of Music. They could also volunteer to join the Glee Club, one of the choirs, or the choral group called the Academy Singers which was well-known in the area.

In addition to regular curriculum classes, students were required to sign up for an activity for their enrichment and cultural development. These activities included photography, driving school, typing, fencing, drama, ballet, horseback riding, charm class, scripture study, physical education, crafts, and home economics club.

The Academy closed in 1985, and the wing that it occupied became a guest wing for relatives of hospitalized patients, also run by the Sisters. It is estimated that over the course of 32 years, between 2,000 and 3,000 students received at least part of their high school education at the Academy.

Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse

  • Corporate body
  • 1953-2007

The third Mother House for the Sisters of St. Joseph in London was in the former Hellmuth Ladies’ College, built by Bishop Isaac Hellmuth. This ladies’ college had 140 pupils with 100 of them boarders, including Charlotte Johnson, sister of poet Pauline Johnson. It was formally opened on Sept. 23, 1869 by HRH Prince Arthur, third son of Queen Victoria who became 10th Governor General of Canada. Hellmuth Ladies’ College stood like a stately home of England in a park with the city in the distance and country all around. There were Venetian glass doors, chandeliers, polished floors, wide corridors and a broad staircase. Ann Mills was the first principal of Hellmuth College from 1869-1872, and a chapel built in 1877 named St. Anne’s chapel in her honor stood on a summit to the left of the driveway.

Sadly, Hellmuth Ladies’ College went bankrupt and the Sisters purchased the property on June 10, 1899, opening their residence, novitiate and orphanage and renaming it Mount St. Joseph The formal opening took place on April 29, 1900. A procession several miles long including school children, clergy and church members made their way to the grounds from the Bishop’s palace and church for this grand occasion. Mount St. Joseph was both a convent and home for school-aged orphans until the Sisters moved to Sacred Heart Convent in 1914. After this, the building was used solely as an orphanage, with infants and pre-school children also cared for. The orphanage eventually stopped taking infants who were moved to St. Joseph’s Hospital Children’s Dept. Orphan children over two years of age were moved to Fontbonne Hall on Queens Avenue in 1953, and in 1967 Madame Vanier Services took over the care of the children. St. Anne’s chapel was torn down in 1925, and its bricks used to make repairs on the main building after a fire in 1925. A new chapel, also named St. Anne’s chapel, was built by the Sisters in 1909 and later demolished in 1976.

The need for a new Mother House for the Sisters living at Sacred Heart Convent was apparent by 1940, when a building committee was formed, presided over by Reverend Mother Constance Dunn. Eventually, a new building was designed and planned by Reverend Mother Margaret Coughlin. The sod turning took place on October 15, 1950, and construction began on October 21, 1951, with the building of a new chapel, Immaculate Conception chapel, beginning on January 3, 1953. The professed sisters moved to the old Hellmuth Ladies’ College building from Sacred Heart Convent on September 23, 1953, and the Generalate and Novitiate moved to the completed wings of the new building on November 3, 1953. The formal opening was on June 20, 1954, attended by Bishop John C. Cody and 5,000 members of the public. The new Mother House was also named Mount St. Joseph.

Mount St. Joseph overlooks the Thames River. It is constructed of limestone with wood-trim in a grey-green shade. The central tower with its simple cross can be seen for miles, and extending from this tower are the wings of the building. It took two years and eight months to build. The architects were Watt and Tillman of London, and the General Contractor was Anglin-Norcross Ontario Ltd. The marble for the Immaculate Conception Chapel was supplied by T. Carli-Petrucci Ltd. Of Montreal, the woodwork by Globe Furniture Co. of Waterloo, and the marble and terrazzo in the main entrance on first floor main corridors by V. D’Ambrosio & Co. Ltd., Toronto.

The building had reception parlours with crystal chandeliers from the old Mount St. Joseph (Hellmuth Ladies’ College) building, a library, a reception hall with marble pillars, floor and walls. The mosaic ceiling of the chapel was designed by Count Alexander Svobodo, a member of the Conn Arts Studio in Toronto. The floor, walls and columns are of marble, as is the altar which is a solid piece of green St. Denis marble weighing 4,600 pounds. The kneelers and statues are also of marble. The stained-glass windows in the nave and sanctuary were made in Florence Italy and designed by Rodolfo Fanfani of the firm Guido Polloni. The organ is a Casavant two-manual organ, first installed at Sacred Heart Convent. It was rebuilt and slightly enlarged upon installation in the new chapel in 1953.

The grounds, landscaped by Gordon Culham, contain many beautiful trees and shrubs and a rose garden, as well as a playing field and four tennis courts. The grotto on the south end of the grounds is a replica of the grotto at Lourdes. It was built in 1954 by parishioners of Kingsbridge led by their pastor, Fr Henri Van Vynckt. It has a reproduction of the statue of Our Lady based on the original at Lourdes, and a statue of the kneeling figure of St. Bernadette. It contains stones from each of grottoes of the world in its stonework (Lourdes, Fatima, La Salette). Separated from the grotto by a small bridge, was Medaille House which opened in 1969, and was used for retreats.

The former Mount St. Joseph (Hellmuth Ladies’ College) building served several purposes after the orphanage was moved. A Kindergarten and pre-kindergarten ran from 1954 to 1975 for ages 4-6 years in the basement of its chapel for children who lived outside London. The building was renamed Fatima Hall High School and Aspirancy in 1957. This initiative was started by Mother Margaret Coughlin in London and at Edmonton Regional House. The Aspirancy provided spiritual and academic education for girls interested in religious life in grades 9-12 - ran from 1957 to 1967. The building also housed laundry and maintenance facilities.

In 1955, the second, third and fourth floors were added to the Novitiate wing. From 1958 to 1959, a new Academy wing and the east wing of the Juniorate were added. In 1961, there were fourth floor additions to the southeast and northeast wings. In 1968, Ignatia Hall wing was opened as an infirmary and residence for the senior sisters. It also housed Generalate offices and the Medaille Program Centre, which was located on the ground floor.

A music school had started at Sacred Heart Convent in the early 1920s. With the move to the new Mount St. Joseph, this music school fell under the principalship of Sr. Callistus Arnsby, and was renamed St. Joseph’s School of Music. Three music studios were set up in the old Mount St. Joseph (Hellmuth Ladies’ College) building and later moved to the new building. The music school taught to the Western Ontario Conservatory of Music exam requirements and gave piano, violin, singing and music theory lessons. It amalgamated with the Western Ontario Conservatory of Music on the university campus in 1982.

The girls’ school which had been at Sacred Heart Convent moved to Mount St. Joseph in 1953, and to its own new wing in 1958. The school was both a boarding and day school. Known as Mount St. Joseph Academy, it provided education to over 3,000 young women until it closed in 1985.

In 1975, patients and their relatives from the transplant program at University Hospital were given accommodation at Mount St. Joseph. After the Academy closed, the third and fourth floor of its wing became known as the Guest Wing, accommodating up to 75 guests who could take meals in the Sisters’ dining room. The wing also was used for St. Joseph’s Health Care Centre. The Guest Wing program closed in 2005.

On April 20 1976, the old Mount St. Joseph (Hellmuth Ladies’ College) building demolition began. Ellis Don Construction completed work on a new laundry, maintenance facilities and pool on Feb. 22, 1977. The pool was used by the Ursulines, Seminarians, Sisters, Academy students, and patients from St. Mary’s Hospital.

On December 8, 2005, the property was sold to Ivest Properties and London Property Corporation and leased to Retirement Residences Real Estate Trust (REIT).

Oral Histories and Autobiographies

  • Corporate body
  • 1992-2012

The series contains oral histories and autobiographies of some of the Sisters of St. Joseph in the London Diocese. Many of the oral histories included were conducted for the Federation Collaborative History Project. The Federation includes all of the different Congregations of the Sisters of Saint Joseph in Canada. The oral histories included in the Federation project are those of a select few Sisters. These Sisters are: Noella Armstrong, Mary Doyle, Augustine Long, Margaret Ferris and Cathleen Flynn. Many of the Sisters discussed memories of their childhood and their lives before entering the convent. Most felt the call to service early in life and shared stories of their years preparing to become a professed Sister. Also included in the series are the memoirs of Sister Rosary Fallon, who was a gifted musician and teacher.

Policy

  • Corporate body
  • 1968-2012

Policy development in the congregation takes place when there is a need to create an approach to handle certain situations; in other words, policy development is an as-needed activity. Changes and revisions to policy are typically determined by new regulations released by the government, and these regulations are then incorporated into policy by congregational staff, such as Human Resources, as well as committees consisting of other staff and Sisters who wish to participate in the policy creation. The purpose of policy and procedures is to ensure that all members of the congregation, from the Sisters to the staff, are aware of their roles and responsibilities in creating a safe, cohesive environment that reflects the values of the congregation. This policy series mainly focuses on the roles and expectations of the Sisters specifically, but also includes important information regarding manuals and committees that pertain to the congregation’s work environment.

Renewal Programs

  • Corporate body
  • 1974, 1980-1981

Renewal programs were recommended for all religious communities, as a result of the Second Vatican Council. Events consisted of presentations, reflection and discussions regarding the Church, personal commitment, growth in relationship with Christ, and service to others. Two major events are recorded: 1974 and 1981. Both events were held twice to accommodate all the members of the Congregation. Prior to the program of 1981, a Vow Committee was formed to organize the proceedings. Minutes and correspondence and resources are contained in the series.

Rimbey Hospital, Alta.

  • Corporate body
  • 1932-1949

The hospital was called St. Paul's Hospital and was owned by the Archdiocese of Edmonton. The Order of Benedictines ran the hospital for the archdiocese until they had to return to the United States due to their declining numbers. Archbishop Henry Joseph O'Leary then asked the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Diocese of London to take over operations. Sisters Loretto Traynor, Liguori O'Dwyer and Lenora Doyle were the first Sisters from the congregation to work at the hospital. They were all trained nurses and were known for their success managing the day-to-day operations despite financial difficulties. This was because there was no financial support from the provincial government for private hospitals at this time. By 1945, the hospital had 30 beds.

In the 1940s, it became evident that a new and larger hospital was needed. A district vote was held to decide whether the new hospital should remain a Catholic hospital or become a municipal hospital. The vote was in favour of a municipal hospital. The Archdiocese felt this was for the best because they were having trouble financing the hospital without provincial support and thought it was in the best interests of the community to ensure quality of healthcare by relinquishing ownership. Upon the transition of ownership and the withdrawal of the Sisters, they were thanked by the community for the work they had done. The Sisters returned to Edmonton or to London and were reassigned to other positions.

Sacred Heart Convent

  • Corporate body
  • 1914-1953

The building which became Sacred Heart Convent was built in 1854. It was originally the home of Lawrence Lawrason, London's first Police Magistrate. The first structure, which had the Sacred Heart statue facing it, was the part that overlooked Dundas Street. In 1867, an additional and major structure was added. The Religious of the Sacred Heart operated a school at this location, but withdrew in September, 1913. The Sisters of St. Joseph began to use the building for commercial classes in two rooms as well as elementary classes in two other rooms. The commercial class provided training in typing, stenography, commercial law and other subjects related to business. On March 31, 1914 through the efforts of Sir Philip Pocock and Mr. T. J. Murphy, the Sacred Heart Convent and property ownership was secured by the Sisters of St. Joseph. The owners, the Religious of the Sacred Heart, discounted the price for the Sisters who were aided by donations from Philip Pocock and Ed Shea. The building became the new Mother House and Novitiate for the Sisters of St. Joseph. The address was 401 Queens Avenue.

The convent housed a Casavant organ, made in Quebec by a company known world-wide for their craftsmanship, and installed in 1931. The Sisters who lived at the convent started teaching music, establishing the Sacred Heart School of Music, later the St. Joseph School of Music, and even an orchestra called the Sacred Heart Concert Orchestra. Mr. César Borré, a renowned Belgian musician, was a friend to the Sisters and helped with music.

The first six students from Sacred Heart Commercial High School attended their graduation ceremonies at St. Peter’s Hall Auditorium in October, 1938. When a Departmental inspection took place at the school, it was determined that instruction was above average, and that graduates with a general business or diploma had an education equivalent to a secondary school diploma.

In 1915, the Separate School Board bought some of the Sacred Heart School property at the northwest corner. Three years later, the School Board rented room in the convent for a household science class. In 1936, the City Council asked that eight feet in from the property line be given to them, and an iron fence was erected along the new line. In 1946, property on the corner of Queens Avenue and Colborne Street was sold to the School Board.

In 1946, the Sacred Heart Convent site was chosen to build a new Catholic high school which would include both a junior and senior school. Until rooms were built for the senior high school, the first two floors of the west wing of the convent were rented to the Catholic School Board and became Catholic Central High School. The boys, with the Christian Brothers as teachers, were on the first floor, and the girls with Sisters as teachers were on the second floor. The Sisters continued to teach girls at Sacred Heart School in grades 9 and 10, while boys in grades 9 and 10 remained at St. Peter’s Parish Hall at what was called De La Salle High School. In 1950, a boarding school for girls was started at Sacred Heart Convent with six students. In the same year, rooms in the convent were rented for high school classes.

The Senior School, named Catholic Central High School (grades 11-13) opened in September 1950 in the former Sacred Heart Convent, being the amalgamation of Sacred Heart Commercial School (1914-1950), St. Angela’s College (run by the Ursuline Sisters from 1913-1950) and De La Salle High School (1920-1951). The Senior School was administered separately from the Junior School. This latter school which opened in September, 1952, was named Catholic Central Separate School (grades 7-10). Classes started being taught at Catholic Central High School on September 2, 1950 in its new building, with Father Joseph Finn and Sister Mary Angela Flaherty as associate principals. Eventually, the Christian Brothers left in 1952. The next year, a special class for special needs students was set up, which moved the following year to three rooms in Sacred Heart School.

In 1953, the building ceased to be a convent and the boarding school moved to the newly built Mount St. Joseph, and in 1958 to the newly completed wing. It was now called Mount St. Joseph Academy.

In 1955, the property was transferred to the Catholic School Board for offices and classrooms. By 1959, most of Sacred Heart Convent had been demolished except the chapel wing, which was torn down in 1986. The new Catholic Central building opened in September 1959 with Sister Elaine Dunn as Principal and with 247 students. In 1960, the formal opening of Catholic Central High School took place. In 1967, the separate school (grades 9-10) and high school (grades 11-13) operated under one principal as Catholic Central High School. In 1986, the North Wing was built, and further renovations took place up until 2000. A blessing and rededication of the school was held in October, 2000. Catholic Central High School held a 50th anniversary reunion in 2001.

Sister Lists

  • Corporate body
  • 1911-2012

This series contains records of the activities of the Sisters including their occupational work appointments, residences, vows, and any departures from the congregation that occurred. The material contained in this series is primarily administrative and allowed the Sisters to keep track of membership, duties, and contact information.

Occupational work was assigned based both on the needs of the community and the skills and training of the Sisters. The primary occupational work fulfilled by Sisters outside of the congregation was in education or nursing, but Sisters also fulfilled roles within the congregation such as housekeeping, and administrative work. With an increasingly aging population, there has been a greater dependence on lay staff to fulfill these sorts of duties within the community.

The large range in dates of the records provides insight into changes that have taken place in the congregation since the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), most notably in the lists of name changes and the lists of sisters who withdrew from the congregation. Prior to the Second Vatican Council, women who joined religious orders received new names of patron saints when they took their vows to represent their separation from the lay world. The Second Vatican Council called upon religious orders to return to their roots and emphasized the value of not separating religious life from the rest of the world, and a large part of this was having Sisters reclaim their baptismal names. Some Sisters felt that the changes imposed by the Second Vatican Council were too much, and there was an exodus of withdrawals in the later 1960s.

Sisters of St. Joseph Concert Band

  • Corporate body
  • 1968-1973

The Sisters of St. Joseph Concert Band began as part of the Centennial Program for the London based Sisters, which lasted from December 1968 until December 1969. However, the Concert Band lasted well beyond the Centennial year, and was quite successful, playing at ecumenical concerts, music festivals, and performance venues from Quebec City to Edmonton and many places in between. From March 1968 to June 1970, the Sisters of St. Joseph Concert Band performed in 15 cities, at 35 public concerts, traveled 8,000 miles and performed for over 23,000 people. Its conductor was the well-known and respected Mr. Martin Boundy, until 1971 when Mr. Donald H. Jones became the Band's conductor.

The instruments first arrived on March 17, 1967, and the Sisters began practicing. Their first concert was on March 19 (St. Joseph's Day) in the Mount St. Joseph Academy Auditorium in London, Ontario.

The Concert Band first officially performed at Catholic Central High School on March 15, 1968. On October 1 of the same year, they played at the Kiwanis Convention on the ground floor of Centennial Hall in London. Another significant performance included the 1968 Waterloo Instrumental Clinic on April 27, 1968, when they laid down their instruments and performed as a choir and received a standing ovation from their audience.

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