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People and organizations
Hussey, Philomena
Person · February 16, 1872-December 5, 1950

Mary Hussey was born February 16, 1872 in Ashton Township, Huron County, Ontario to Thomas Hussey (1841-1902) and Mary Dalton (1840-1926). One of her sisters, Elizabeth Hussey (1870-1959), also joined the Sisters of St. Joseph community in London and took on the name Sister Euphemia. Mary entered the congregation at Mount Hope, received the habit on August 15, 1895, and took her final vows on August 18, 1897 at Mount Hope in London, receiving her religious name Sister Philomena. She was placed in charge of St. Joseph’s School of Nursing in Chatham, Ontario. She was elected General Superior of the Sisters of St. Joseph in London, Ontario in 1923 and held the position until 1935.

In 1925, Mother Philomena and Sister St. Philip Traynor made a pilgrimage to Rome. While she was General Superior, she and her Council revised the Rule according to Canon Law and established a Book of Customs for the community. She also oversaw the opening of the nurses’ residence at St. Joseph’s Hospital, London in 1927 and a convent in Maidstone in 1930. During her tenure, new missions opened in Paincourt, Maidstone, Leamington, and Windsor. She also arranged for Sisters to teach at St. Patrick’s School in London. In 1935 she ended her term as General Superior, was elected General Councilor, and became the assistant to the Superior at the House of Providence in London. After she retired from office, she was appointed Local Superior at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London. She died at St. Joseph’s Hospital on December 5, 1950. Her funeral Mass was held in the Chapel at Sacred Heart Convent, London and student nurses from St. Joseph’s Hospital formed a guard of honour.

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.

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.

Corporate body · 1927-1978

In 1927, following the Congregation of St. Joseph’s exit from Stettler, Alberta, Archbishop Henry Joseph O’Leary decided that a hospital was greatly needed in Galahad, AB. His request for one was granted by the General Superior and her Council, and in 1927, the Sisters of St. Joseph arrived in Galahad, AB. At this time, the only building available to the Sisters was a small 2 story teacherage. The building, which had no plumbing, consisted of only 6 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, AB. 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, AB), 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 $250,000.00, 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 was 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 St. Joseph to re-evaluate their ownership of St. Joseph’s Hospital, Galahad.

On August 31st, 1978, 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.

Corporate body · 1944-1990

St. Joseph’s Hospital in Sarnia, Ontario, was born during the leadership term of Mother Constance Dunn. Sisters were invited by Mayor Hipple’s Sarnia City Council to set up a hospital in October 1942 but had to appeal to the federal government to release essential building materials so that the cornerstone was not laid until April 21, 1944. The new hospital was located at 290 North Russell Street.

The shortage of labour and materials meant that building progress was slow, but even though the hospital was not completed, one floor was opened on March 1, 1946, to meet the acute need for hospital beds. When the formal opening took place 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. It was one of the first complete hospitals built after WW II. The million-dollar hospital with 150 beds and 30 bassinettes was funded completely by the Sisters along with a $10,000 grant from the City of Sarnia and the offer of freedom from municipal taxation. Unfortunately, the grant did not materialize due to technicalities of municipal law and council changes. Later, Mayor W. C. Nelson personally assumed and discharged that debt. Once the hospital opened, the units were filled with both Canadian and American patients from Port Huron and the state of Michigan.

There were 26 resident Sisters, who 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.

On August 23, 1954, a statue of Our Lady of Fatima, donated by Dr. Carpeneto was installed in the grounds. In November 1954, a movie star, Pat O’Brien, was a patient, causing quite a stir among the staff. He liked the hospital very much. In the early days, there was a tennis court donated by staff and during the winter it was flooded for skating.

Due to the demands on hospital care with the burgeoning population of Sarnia, a seven-story, two-million-dollar addition was built in 1959, with the help of two government grants and a capital expense campaign by the people of Sarnia. The new wing added 150 beds and an expanded radiology department with the latest diagnostic equipment, and an enlarged laboratory. By this time, the number of Sisters on staff was 13.

In 1960, a 45-bed paediatric wing was added. The late 1960’s saw the establishment of an employee health program, 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 1966, 27,377 patients used the hospital, 857 babies were born, and there were 649 hospital employees, and 129 medical-dental staff. Over that year and the following year, the laboratory was renovated, and an intensive care unit opened.

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.

Over this decade, renovations were conducted with an isotope department added, cafeteria improvements, and renovations to the nursery and obstetrics unit. When the pediatrics unit was transferred to Sarnia General Hospital in April 1976, the children’s wing closed and only obstetrics remained. From 1966-1986, 196,857 patients were treated.

Sister St. Elizabeth Wilkinson, Sister St. Paul Dietrich, Sister Georgina Ashwell, Sister Mary Elizabeth Campbell, and Sister Rita Heenan, also served as Administrators over these decades. 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 were added. There were further renovations and improvements, including to the intensive care unit, and the addition of the new Chronic Care Facility. The Sisters’ quarters were vacated, and social service and respiratory technology relocated in this area. An outpatient surgery unit was added, and improvements were made to the heating system, cafeteria, elevators, and nurse-call system. Some of these renovations were fully or partially funded by the Ministry of Health.

By 1982, there were only seven Sisters left on staff, with four in pastoral care. The last Sisters’ quarters were converted to use as an auditorium and health science library in 1983, with Sisters moving to a house at 430 London Road. During this year, palliative care was added. In November 1983, with the assistance of the Lambton District Health Council, a memorandum of understanding was signed by Sarnia General and St. Joseph’s Hospitals. Under this agreement, St. Joseph’s Hospital took over the family oriented acute care field with responsibility for chronically ill patients.

Further changes took place throughout the 1980s including the opening of an ambulatory care unit. Monies from community fundraising efforts as well as the Ministry of Health were secured for the building of a $21 million free standing hospital connected to the old hospital on two levels. This took place in three stages beginning with parking lots, demolition of apartment buildings on Norman Street, and construction of the main buildings. A sod turning ceremony was held on August 24, 1987. However, the hospital faced problems such as budgetary restraints placed on Ontario hospitals and a $1 million deficit, and without provincial help, cuts had to be made to services, particularly to part-time staff.

St. Joseph’s Hospital was officially re-opened as St. Joseph’s Health Centre on October 12, 1990, with facilities for rehabilitation, and continuing and palliative care. 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 exclusively as an in-patient treatment centre for the critically ill. It also provided long-term care beds and outpatient treatment. Chief Maness of the local Anishinaabe community spoke at the opening. Patients were transferred to continuing care, mostly from Sarnia General Hospital, but also from acute care beds, homes, and outside agencies for a total of 142 patients by the end of 1990. The hospital that opened its main doors on Russell Street now opened its doors on Norman Street.

In August 1991, the entire hospital site was acquired from the Sisters by St. Joseph’s Health Services Association of Sarnia, Inc. In January 1995, the Sisters donated their residence at 430 London Road to St. Joseph Health Centre to be used as a hospice. Funding for its operation came from daily fees, donations, and St. Joseph’s Health Centre.

There was pressure from the Ministry of Health to rationalize services, which led to changes in service delivery such as moving neurology to Sarnia General Hospital and urology to St. Joseph’s Hospital. In 1995, a study, “Lambton’s Healthy Future” was undertaken by the Lambton District Health Council, the two Sarnia hospitals, and the Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital in Petrolia which set the stage for changes in hospital care. In 1997, St. Joseph’s Hospital acute care services began being transferred to Sarnia General Hospital, and St. Joseph’s Hospital became the provider of support services such as Food Services, Housekeeping, Human Resources, and Materials Management. The emergency department at St. Joseph’s Hospital closed in June 1997.

On January 29, 1998, 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.

Corporate body · 1901-1970

The St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing in Chatham dates back to 1901 when it was discovered that secular nurses would be needed to help out the Sisters of the Congregation in the hospitals. Doctors gave the lectures at the school. From 1903 onward, graduates could be given diplomas. Sister Monica Coyle became Directress of the School. The Alumnae Association of St. Joseph’s Hospital, which started in 1915, raised funds for the school. The last graduating class from the school was in 1970. After the closure of the nursing school, training was delivered by St. Clair College, and nurses did their practical training at both Chatham hospitals (St. Joseph's Hospital and Public General Hospital).

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.

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.

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.