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People and organizations
Health care

Killam General Hospital, Alta.

  • Corporate body
  • 1930-1990

In 1930, the Sisters of St. Joseph opened Killam General Hospital, which remained open the longest of the four hospitals which they started in Alberta. Two years later, St. Paul's Hospital began in Rimbey. The hospital in Stettler had opened in 1926 and closed a year later, while the hospital in Galahad had opened in 1926.

In 1930, the F. E. Nichol home was purchased by the Sisters for the construction of the hospital in Killam. At this time, there were no grants from the provincial government for the construction or operation of the hospital. Killam General Hospital was given this name to demonstrate that all patients would be treated, no matter with which religion they were affiliated. Sister Jane Frances O'Rourke took charge of the hospital soon after opening. Sister Loyola Donovan followed as Superior and Administrator. In 1945, the hospital had 15 beds.

By 1946, the people in the community had observed for some time that a larger hospital was needed, and thus a wing was added to the hospital. In 1958, the Alberta Hospitalization Plan was put in place, and the Killam General Hospital was one of the first of Alberta's voluntary hospitals to adopt the idea of inviting lay persons of the community to help with hospital management.

In 1959, Sister Mary Lourdes Therens became the new administrator for the hospital. In 1963, during her time as administrator, a new hospital, chapel and residence for the Sisters was opened.

The Flagstaff Beaver Auxiliary Hospital was built and originally owned by the county, which had wanted a long-term care hospital. It was a separate corporation with its own board of directors.The county asked Sister Lourdes and Sister St. Bride if they would operate the hospital for the county. They agreed to do so, and it was administered along with Killam General Hospital as one facility but two separate corporations. There was an Administrator who was a Sister who oversaw a Director of Nurses position in each hospital. These positions were also filled by Sisters. The Auxiliary Hospital and General Hospital were connected by a corridor with double doors that were always left open. The Convent was also attached to the building. The Auxiliary Hospital shared the kitchen and boiler system with the General Hospital and the county paid a certain amount for this shared usage. The lab and x-ray departments were shared between the hospitals, and patients from the General Hospital went to the physiotherapy and occupational therapy departments which were at the Auxiliary Hospital. The Auxiliary Hospital provided long-term care and was known as the geriatric wing. The Auxiliary Hospital had 50 beds, and the Killam General Hospital had a small nursery.

In 1970, Sister Mary Kevin Moran became the new administrator for the complex. There was some lobbying for the Killam General Hospital to be turned over to the county, but the Sisters resisted this for twelve years. In the end, the county turned the Auxiliary Hospital over to the Killam General hospital.

The Killam General Hospital was in operation from 1930-1990 under the direction of the Sisters of St. Joseph. In 1990, the Sisters withdrew from operation of the Killam General and Flagstaff Beaver Auxiliary Hospitals. In 1990, the hospitals were renamed the Killam Hospital Complex. At this point, the hospitals had 30 active beds and 150 chronic beds. In 2002, ownership was transferred to Alberta Catholic Health Corporation. The Convent was rented to home care for five years and is now also owned by the Alberta Catholic Hospital Corporation. The former Convent houses doctors' offices today. The hospital complex was later named Killam Health Care Centre.

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.

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.

St. Joseph's Hospice

  • Corporate body
  • 2012-

Prior to the move to the current location on Windermere Road in London, Ontario, St. Joseph’s Hospice administration was located on Talbot Street. The building in which it was housed was known as the Great Talbot Street Estate, and had been purchased by the hospice in 2003. Therapeutic gardens and a memory walkway were part of the grounds. This location served as a resource centre, but did not provide residential care, while recognizing the need for it. St. Joseph’s Hospice came under the direction of the St. Joseph’s Health Care Society whose expertise in operating a ten bed hospice in Sarnia was integral to their involvement in the London hospice proposal.

On July 17, 2012, John Callaghan of the St. Joseph Health Care Society met with Sister Margo Ritchie, Congregational Leader and John Mockler, Business Administrator of the Sisters of St. Joseph. He was looking for property to purchase for the building of the first residential hospice in London. The Sisters did not have any property for sale. The meeting closed with the recognition that there were approximately 17 vacant suites at the Sisters’ residence at 485 Windermere Road. A casual comment was made that maybe they should create a hospice at this location. Sister Mary Diesbourg, Local Leader of the Sisters’ residence, was invited to join further conversation.

What began as a casual comment led to another meeting. This time, Peter Whatmore of CB Richard Ellis, the realtor searching for a site for the hospice, joined in the conversation. During this meeting, there were discussions about the pros and cons of housing the hospice in the Sisters’ residence. Those in attendance recognized that both Mr. Callaghan and the Sisters would need to consult with their respective constituents.

By August 2012, with the approval of the Congregational Leadership Team, the Sisters began an intense discernment process. They held a meeting with John Callaghan on August 22, 2012 at which time he was to bring responses to the many questions which the Sisters had.

The Congregational Leadership Team and other committee members were pro-active in learning more about hospice services, their potential impact on the day to day life of the Sisters in residence and also the capacity of St. Joseph’s Health Care Society to oversee St. Joseph’s Hospice.

The question and answer format became a very important part of the continuing dialogue between the Sisters and St. Joseph’s Hospice throughout the entire construction period. It was important at the beginning of the dialogue since it required the Sisters to consider and discuss the reality of sharing. This included use of gardens, recognition of the Sisters’ Horarium, entry and exit points, and the use of chapel and food services.

At the same time, another process was in motion. The Suites Committee - which had been formed in early 2012 to look for a short to medium term solution to the Sisters’ extra space issue - was first asked their opinion about a possible “partnering” with the hospice in two existing building wings, the East and North wings in the third floor of the residence. They had previously submitted a plan to the Leadership team in June 2012 that saw the Congregation housing guests, students and retreatants. The new idea of Hospice called the Sisters to rethink their plan regarding usage of space.

When the Leadership team agreed to look more seriously at the hospice idea, the first group with whom they consulted was the Suites Committee. Next, a small focus group of Sisters was involved in the discussion. Following these initial consultations to test the idea, the whole community at 485 Windermere Road met on several occasions to discuss the advantages and the disadvantages of partnering with the hospice in their home. The next step was to open the conversation to the whole Congregation. What they were really seeking was the movement of spirit in this communal decision. They looked at the long range actuarial of the community, the implications of sharing space and other possible uses of the space. The short time frame for decision-making was at first seen as an obstacle to good processing. In the end, the timeframe for decision-making was adequate.

Some considered the disruption to the life of the Sisters as an obstacle to having the hospice share the space in the Sisters’ residence. Often this comment came from Sisters living outside 485 Windermere out of concern for their friends. Some wondered if having people die on such a regular basis might further deplete the Sisters’ own sense of energy. Another concern was that they had moved into this new residence only six years prior, and the thought of renovating an almost brand new building seemed unimaginable.

In the end, after much discussion and the raising of all possible questions, the Sisters whole-heartedly endorsed inviting the hospice to share their space. Most compelling was the fact that they needed a long-term plan since they knew they could not administer another use of their empty space. Sisters felt that the hospice was in keeping with their charism. St. Joseph is the patron of the dying; and the Sisters have always wanted to be part of responding to an unmet need. In their history they saw a pattern of having people live with them from the earliest days at Mount Hope, when they shared their home with orphans and the elderly. The Sisters wanted to be part of creating something innovative in London. In short, the communal movement of spirit evoked a positive response to this venture.

On October 30, 2012, the Congregational Leadership Team wrote to John Callaghan expressing their whole-hearted support for this partnership. The hospice would become a tenant within their space. More significantly, both St. Joseph’s Hospice and the Sisters of St. Joseph knew that a possibility that was mutually beneficial had opened up before them.

In November 2012, the first official meeting of the representatives of the Sisters of St. Joseph and St. Joseph’s Hospice took place. In December 2012, there were three preliminary designs being considered for the new hospice, with the design by Alison Haney of Cornerstone Architects selected in early 2013. At the same time, Wendy Wilson was hired as the project manager for St. Joseph’s Hospice, and McKay Cocker Construction Ltd. was selected as the construction firm with Anita Verberk as the firm’s project manager. The two project managers worked closely together during construction. McKay Cocker Construction Ltd. also brought on board Pat Sullivan as the site superintendent. Initially, the proposed project completion date was set for October 2013 with an opening date for November 27th, 2013 and an open house on December 7th and 8th. It was anticipated that the hospice would receive their first resident by January 2014.

The construction firm did their site set-up in May 2013 to begin construction in June 2013, and kept to its schedule, but near the end of construction there were issues with parking and city zoning. There was an approximately 90 day wait for approval from the City which delayed the official opening.

As construction continued on the site, key personnel for the hospice were recruited. In May 2013, Dr. Joshua Shadd was hired as the hospice’s Medical Director with responsibilities in overseeing all clinical aspects of the hospice. In October 2013, the hospice hired Shirley Nieman as their Director of Residential Services and Julie Johnston as Executive Director.

Construction concluded on the ten-bed hospice in November 2013, with John Callaghan officially announcing to the Sisters on November 15th that construction was complete. The hospice administration moved from the Talbot Street location to the new location on December 6th and 7th of 2013. The hospice staff arrived on December 9th to unpack their office equipment. The move was undertaken by Campbell Bros. Moving. An official tour for the Sisters took place on December 16th, followed by the official opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on January 13th, 2014. The first resident was received on the morning of Thursday, February 20th, 2014.

St. Joseph's Hospital, Chatham, Ont.

  • Corporate body
  • 1890-1993

In 1890 a meeting was held between Reverend Paul O.F.M of St. Joseph’s Parish Chatham, Reverend Mother Ignatia Campbell, and Mother Aloysia Nigh, along with some of the prominent doctors of Chatham. They decided that the community was in need of a hospital and the sisters agreed to run it. A boarding house, formerly the Salvation Army Barracks, was leased until funds could be secured for a new hospital to be built. The hospital was officially opened in its temporary quarters on October 15, 1890 with Mother Aloysia as its head, assisted by Sisters Francis and Martha. Construction began at the hospital’s long-time site of 519 King Street West on the Thames River with the laying of the cornerstone in 1891. Construction was completed in 1892. Over the years, wings were added onto the hospital to accommodate the growing community of Chatham and, therefore, the growing demand for hospital services.

In 1972, the amalgamation of services occurred between St. Joseph’s Hospital and Public General Hospital as ordered by the Ministry of Health for financial reasons. Legislative changes, increasing government control, and the decline of Sisters in the health care field led to the gradual withdrawal of the Sisters from the hospital. The last year that a sister was a hospital administrator was in 1984. In 1992, the Sisters withdrew from residence at the hospital, and in 1993 the ownership of the hospital was changed over to the St. Joseph’s Health Care Society. The hospital is now Riverview Gardens, a long-term care facility.

St. Joseph's Hospital, Sarnia, Ont.

  • Corporate body
  • 1944-1990

The Sisters of St. Joseph of the Diocese of London had been invited by the Sarnia City Council in 1942 to open a hospital in Sarnia. Initially, the Sisters faced opposition on the part of the Ministerial Association, the Derry Orange Lodge, and some medical personnel. Construction of the hospital began in 1944, and after numerous delays due to shortage of materials and labour during WW II, one floor was finally opened in 1945 to meet the acute need for hospital beds. St. Joseph’s Hospital was fully operational with 150 beds on March 1, 1946. The formal opening ceremony for St. Joseph’s Hospital was held on October 18, 1946. The Honourable George A. Drew, Premier of Ontario cut the ribbon. Bishops J.T. Kidd and J.C. Cody (Coadjutor, Bishop), and priests from London and Detroit were present. Officials from other hospitals were also present.

The entire million-dollar project was funded by the Sisters of St. Joseph. They received no financial assistance from the government and only a $10,000 grant from the City of Sarnia. The units were filled with both Canadian and American patients from Port Huron and the state of Michigan.
The Sisters carried out active nursing roles and administrative duties, notably Sister Pascal Kenny who served as the first Administrator of the hospital. She had previous experience working in operating rooms and administration, and was a member of the American College of Hospital Administrators and of the Board of Governors of the Ontario Hospital Association.

In the early days, nursing, technical, and domestic staff were difficult to find. Many of the staff were mothers of families who could only work occasionally. Students from St. Joseph’s Training School of Nursing in London helped fill the nursing rota, and were hired permanently after graduation. Because of the nursing shortage, innovations were made such as the central distribution of medicines and central surgical supply rooms.
By September 1948, St. Joseph’s Hospital was better able to provide for patients. A detoxification centre was opened and many alcoholics were treated at the hospital. A clinic for cancer patients was also held regularly at the hospital, overseen by a team from the London Cancer Clinic, who did follow-up checks and therapy. The Auxiliary Radiotherapy and Follow-up Cancer Clinic, the first of its kind in Ontario, was opened in conjunction with the Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation.

The late 1950’s saw increased demand for hospital services, which led in 1959, with the advent of government sponsored coverage, a seven-storey, two million dollar addition and an increase of 150 active treatment beds. In 1960, a 45-bed paediatric wing was added. An Intensive Care Unit was opened in 1967, and an Employee Health program was established. The late 1960’s saw the addition of a Social Service Department, and in 1969, a diagnostic radioisotope service. This time period also saw the establishment of District Health Councils.

In the 1970s, the hospital needed to update its facilities to meet accreditation standards, as well as to comply with the Sisters’ own standards of care. Because government funding was decreased, Sisters needed to do more independent fundraising. This decade also saw the Ministry of Health deciding to amalgamate hospitals and rationalize services in Lambton County. This became a political issue which meant many hours were spent on discussions with the District Health Council, the Mustard Report, and other tasks. St. Joseph’s Hospital also became embroiled in a confrontation with the Ministry of Health on contentious issues regarding health services, which conflicted with the Catholic faith. The end of this tumultuous period saw the closure of the paediatrics unit and the doubling of obstetrical unit beds.

From 1979 onwards, diminishing numbers of Sisters able to take on the responsibilities of hospital management led to the hiring of qualified laypersons, beginning with Frank Bagatto as the Executive Director in June, 1979.

In the 1980s, quality assurance became a major focus, and new services such as the chiropody and palliative care were added. The new Chronic Care Facility was financed and completed. In November of 1983, A Memorandum of Understanding between St. Joseph’s Hospital, Sarnia and Sarnia General Hospital was drafted to form the basis for the future planning of each hospital.

St. Joseph’s Hospital was officially re-opened as St. Joseph’s Health Centre on October 12, 1990. This was the amalgamation of St. Joseph’s Hospital, the Continuing Care Centre (formerly the Chronic Care Facility), Sarnia-Lambton Workers’ Treatment Centre, and a Day Hospital. The name change reflects a concomitant change in service provision and governance. St. Joseph’s Health Centre no longer served as exclusively as an in-patient treatment centre for the critically ill. It also provided long-term care beds and outpatient treatment. Assets were transferred from the Sisters of St. Joseph to the newly incorporated body of St. Joseph’s Health Services Association of Sarnia. The board of directors of the corporation was now the hospital board, and six Sisters formed the General Administration as members of the corporation which was an un-shared capital corporation. Ownership lay with the corporation while the Sisters maintained final authority over decisions.

In January 1995, the Sisters donated their residence at 430 London Road to St. Joseph Health Centre to be used as a hospice. On January 29, 1998, the St. Joseph’s Health Centre joined in partnership with the Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital and the Sarnia General Hospital by signing the Strategic Alliance Agreement. In April 2003, ownership of St. Joseph’s Health Centre was given to the Lambton County Hospital Group.

St. Mary's Hospital, London, Ont.

  • Corporate body
  • 1951-1985

The Sisters of St. Joseph built St. Mary’s Hospital at 200 Grosvenor Street in 1951. It received its first 35 patients on April 3, 1951 from the House of Providence. It was created to serve the special medical and nursing needs of the chronically ill. The Sisters assigned to St. Mary’s Hospital in 1951 were: Sr. Patrick Joseph as Superior; Sr. Leonora Doyle as Superintendent of the Hospital; Sisters: Irene Redmond, Austin Gurvine, Christina Dewan, Alberta Kenny, Lutgarde Stock, Bernandine Boyle, St. Matthew McMurray, Gervase Martin, Roseanne Sheehan, Ludmille (Isabel) Girard, Carmela Reedy, Justina Mahoney, Vincent de Paul Cronin, Genevieve Anne Cloutier, Dolores Sullivan. Its physiotherapy department was especially well-known for its efficiency, modern equipment, and well trained staff.

Many patients at St. Mary’s were there for long-term care and were encouraged to make the hospital their home. Some of the programs that facilitated this were the Patients’ Council, a patient newspaper called Between Friends, and fund-raising events for charities and the hospital. The hospital’s budget was often strained. In 1959, the Ontario Hospital Commission Insurance was created which provided welcome financial relief for many hospitals, including St. Mary’s. It was difficult for administrative and medical staff to adjust with extra patient evaluations and paperwork required to qualify for insurance.

In 1960, the hospital re-organized its staff in preparation for the Canadian Council Accreditation Survey which the hospital passed. The hospital maintained its accreditation over the years despite inadequate facilities which were addressed in 1979-1981 with a large building project. The old laundry and what remained of the Mount Hope Chapel were demolished to make way for a new chapel, laundry, and kitchen which connected the hospital with the neighbouring Marian Villa. In 1979, the Pastoral Department was created at the hospital. A Sister or priest worked part-time to co-ordinate the Sisters who volunteered for pastoral visits to patients.

In 1985, St. Mary’s Hospital merged with St.Joseph’s Hospital and Marian Villa to become St. Joseph’s Health Centre. In 1986, rehabilitation services were added at St. Mary’s Hospital for acute injuries, amputees, neurological, orthopaedic, and chronic pain. In 1997, it became part of the Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care.

Stettler Hospital, Alta.

  • Corporate body
  • 1926-1927

In 1925, the Board of Trade passed a resolution that the leaders of Stettler should ask Archbishop Henry Joseph O'Leary to set up a "Sisters' Hospital" in Stettler, Alberta. In turn, the Archbishop sent for four sisters from the Sisters of St. Joseph in the Diocese of London to run the hospital: Sister Patricia Coughlin, Sister Virginia Lobban, Sister Austin Gurvine, and Sister Jane Francis O'Rourke. They arrived in March of 1926.

Due to religious factions in the community, soon after it was known that the Sisters would be running a hospital, another proposal was made to establish a public municipal hospital instead. Since the voting on this issue was dragged out, the Sisters went ahead and began work in a small existing hospital. Upon arrival, the Sisters cleaned the building and ordered new supplies because the hospital was in a poor state. The local parish was very supportive and a nearby cottage was rented for the purposes of storage and an oratory for the Sisters to celebrate mass and have community prayers.

Meanwhile, a vote was finally conducted but failed to pass. After the district boundaries were redrawn, another vote was held in favour of a municipal hospital. Also around this time, the hospital's cottage was burned down by opponents. Both these factors contributed to the Sisters closing the hospital and moving to Galahad where the Village of Galahad had asked them to establish a Sisters' Hospital.