Series 16 - Radville Community Hospital and Marian Home series

Radville Community Hospital, Radville, Sask.

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Radville Community Hospital and Marian Home series

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  • Multiple media

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CA ON00279 16

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  • 1948-2017 (Creation)
    Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada (Pembroke, Ont.)

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Physical description

18 cm of textual records
49 photographs : col.
5 photographs : b&w

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Administrative history

The Sisters of St. Joseph for the Diocese of Pembroke in Canada was first incorporated by letters patent dated January 21, 1922 under the Ontario Companies Act. The town of Pembroke, Ontario is located on the traditional lands of the Algonquin and Anishinaabe Peoples.

In 1910, Sisters from Peterborough began teaching at St. Michael’s Parish school in Douglas, followed by Killaloe in 1915 and Mount St. Patrick in 1916, all three being small rural communities in Ontario. Eleven years later, on August 25, 1921, a new community was formed at Bishop Ryan’s request by 27 Sisters from Peterborough. 14 of these Sisters were already serving in Douglas, Killaloe, and Mount St. Patrick. Mother Vincent Carroll was elected General Superior.

The new community needed a motherhouse, and the O’Kelly farm was purchased by Bishop Ryan, giving the Sisters 40 acres of farmland and 107 acres of woods on the Ottawa River, along with an old farmhouse. On September 19, 1921 St. Joseph’s-on-the-Lake, the first Motherhouse, was officially opened and blessed by Father Dowdall. St. Joseph’s Convent, the first mission of the newly formed congregation, was established in Chapeau on August 27, 1921. Here the Sisters taught in the local school for many years. The Pembroke Sisters spread out throughout Ontario and Quebec, and even made their way westward to Saskatchewan and Alberta. Some other missions included Calabogie (1924), Campbell’s Bay (1925), Barry’s Bay (1928), Renfrew (1928), Sheenboro (1936), Madawaska (1936), Deep River (1948), Quyon (1951), Des Joachims (1958), Whitney (1958). Bancroft (1959), Ottawa (1962), and Petawawa (1962).

The General Superiors of the Congregation were elected from the ranks of the founding Sisters until 1945 when Mother Magdalen Donegan was elected. She had entered the Congregation in September 1923. At the peak of its membership growth, the Congregation numbered approximately 190.

After three decades, on September 15, 1952, Bishop Smith took part in the sod turning for a new Motherhouse. On April 26, 1953 he blessed the cornerstone. The new motherhouse officially opened on December 12, 1953 – providing a home for years to which Sisters could return from missions outside Pembroke. Many of the convents outside Pembroke housed teachers, as education was a significant ministry. The first classes held at St. Joseph’s Academy, a girls’ high school in Renfrew, on September 10, 1928. A new building was completed in 1940 and the school stayed open for almost three more decades. In October 1940, the Normal School, later St. Mary’s Teachers’ College, opened in Chapeau, and saw its last graduates in 1969. This ministry was unique to the Pembroke Sisters, as no other of our communities provided teacher training.

Following the original thread of the Sisters in Le Puy, the Pembroke Sisters served others in corporal works of mercy through healthcare. On July 25, 1946 Sisters arrived in Radville, Saskatchewan to establish the first hospital, which they administered until 1998. Ten years after opening the hospital, they founded Marian Home to provide long term care, and senior care. Sisters also went to Regina, where they opened Santa Maria Senior Citizens’ Home on October 12, 1968. On January 7, 1947 they assumed the administration and staffing of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Barrhead, Alberta from the Religious Hospitallers of St Joseph. This ministry lasted until 1978.

Closer to home, St. Francis Memorial Hospital in Barry’s Bay, Ontario was opened on October 25, 1960. This hospital was also staffed by the Sisters. Sr. Rosenda Brady, who administered this hospital, later took charge of Valley Manor, a senior’s home in Barry’s Bay, which opened on June 23, 1978. On August 24, 1968, Sisters arrived to administer and staff St. Joseph’s Manor, a home for senior citizens, in Campbell’s Bay, Québec, where they remained until 1982.

There was only a short-lived ministry of orphan care at Villa St. Joseph in Renfrew from 1940 to 1947. In a spirit of adventure, the Sisters set sail to South America on April 17, 1964, to found St. Joseph’s Convent in Chincha Alta, Peru. On the feast day of St. Martin de Porres, November 2, 1964, they opened Clinica San Martin. In the spring of the following year, on April 1, 1965, the parish school opened in Chincha Alta. Classes began at Colegio San Jose in March 1970. On January 1, 1966 Clinica Tom Dooley opened in Chincha Baja.

Still following the thread of the Sisters in Le Puy, the Pembroke Sisters served others in spiritual works of mercy through parish work and spiritual development ministry. On August 15, 1978, Sisters began parish ministry in Penticton (to 1984). In September 1969, St. Joseph Centre, a renewal centre in Chapeau, opened for a brief period, followed in July 1989 by Stillpoint House of Prayer in Springtown, which has seen decades of service.

On November 22, 2012, the congregation amalgamated with those in Hamilton, London, and Peterborough into one charitable corporation under the name Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada by the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada Act, a Private Act of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario which received Royal Assent on June 13, 2013.

Custodial history

Scope and content

This series contains records concerned with the founding, ownership, operation, transfer, and closing of Radville Community Hospital and Marian Home. Primary topics within the records are the history and management of the two institutions, the minutes of the Governing Board, and the transfer of ownership. Records include invitations, event programs, speeches, pamphlets, booklets, a directory, histories, correspondence, news clippings, photographs, inventories, legal agreements and contracts, financial and insurance records, and facility policies and bylaws.

Notable items include a 1970 pictorial directory of Holy Family Parish, a list of Sisters who ministered in Radville, a list of 1949 donations for the creation of the hospital, a 1989 accreditation survey report for Radville Community Hospital and Marian Home, the minutes of the Governing Board, operational reports from hospital committees and staff, a 1980 consultation by the Catholic Health Association of Canada, and legal agreements concerning the ownership and transfer of the medical facilities and property. There is also some material concerning the estate of Reverend Father Earnest A. Yandeau, who left a donation to the Sisters of St. Joseph in Radville upon his death in 1969, and the Summer Extern Program, a program for undergraduate medical students to gain experience in a clinical setting.

The photographs are primarily of the Radville Community Hospital and Marian Home, the staff, the Sisters, the town of Radville, the 2017 memorial, and reunion events. The correspondence concerns the lives of the Sisters in Radville and the opening, operation, and relinquishing of ownership of the Radville Community Hospital and Marian Home.

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These records were accumulated by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Pembroke.


Original order was maintained.

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    Script of material

      Location of originals

      The records are located at The Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada Consolidated Archives.

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      Restrictions on access

      Files 16-0002.1 Correspondence and 16-0004.2 Saskatchewan Hospital Association contain sensitive information which is restricted.
      The Archives reserves the right to restrict access to the collection depending on the condition of the archival material, the amount of material requested, and the purpose of the research. The use of certain materials may also be restricted for reasons of privacy or sensitivity, or under a donor agreement. Access restrictions will be applied equally to all researchers and reviewed periodically. No researcher will be given access to any materials that contain a personal information bank such as donor agreements or personnel records, or to other proprietary information such as appraisals, insurance valuations, or condition reports.

      Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

      Permission to study archival records does not extend to publication or display rights. The researcher must request this permission in writing from the Archives.

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      No further accruals are expected.

      General note

      Radville Hospital, Saskatchewan 1946-1998

      Radville, a friendly town in Southern Saskatchewan, is situated in the south-Central part of the Province, eighty-four miles southeast of Regina, in one of the best farming districts of the Province. The history of the town is a story of Indigenous peoples and early pioneer settlements which began in the year 1904.

      In 1942, the members of the Radville Board of Trade recognized the need of hospital facilities for the town of Radville and the surrounding district. A hospital committee was formed in March of that year with Mr. W.A. McIlrath as Chairman and Father E.A. Yandeau, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Radville as a member. The Board of Trade interviewed Archbishop Monaghan of Regina in connection with the proposed hospital. Later that year, the Archbishop came to Radville to inspect the proposed site and consult with the members of the committee. The death of Mr. Mcllrath was a severe blow, but the committee continued to function, with the result that in May 1946, Reverend Mother Magdalen, General Superior, and Mother Gertrude accepted an invitation to come to Radville to discuss the proposed hospital with members of the hospital committee.

      At the request of Archbishop Monaghan and Father Yandeau, Reverend Mother Magdalen accompanied by five Sisters, M. St. Anne, M. Monica, Bernadine, M. Bernard, and M. Joseph arrived in Radville on July 25, 1946. Their goal was to establish a hospital for the town and surrounding district. This was the Sisters’ first western mission and first attempt at operating a hospital.

      The small Roman Catholic rectory was made available by Father Yandeau for use as a temporary hospital while the present one was under construction. The Sisters’ lived in a small parish hall located next to the new hospital.

      The Sisters coped with the many hardships and difficulties, some of which included a lack of water and electrical power, and limited space. The first patient was Mrs. Paul Laliberte who on July 31, gave birth to a son who was renamed Joseph at the insistence of the Sisters. The facilities were somewhat crude and makeshift. Meals were prepared in the kitchen and carried outside and passed through the window to the patients…but the service was superb.

      The formal opening of the hospital took place on October 6, 1948, and brought to fruition a dream for the people of Radville. More than 1200 people attended the opening. The day began with Mass in the morning, at Holy Family Church, celebrated by Archbishop M. C. O’Neill of Regina, who also attended the hospital opening ceremonies and was one of the speakers. Mother Magdalen came from Pembroke to attend. Doctor Pennington served as the first resident doctor.

      The following day, the patients were transferred from the improvised hospital to the new modern hospital which had 27 beds and 6 bassinettes.

      Work began on the third floor of the hospital on December 7, 1951. It was to house a chapel and living quarters for the Sisters. The Sisters moved into the new residence on June 7, 1952.

      The Sisters were very active in the parish. They were readers, choir members, members of the Catholic Women’s League, and much more. They attended all the deanery pastoral council meetings that were held during the year. Sister Anastasia worked part-time in the Marian Home in administration. She was also a member of the board of directors for the hospital and for Marian Home. She attended the parish council meetings and was responsible for typing the bulletins for the parish each week. Sister Alphonsus worked in Pastoral Care in the hospital and at Marian Home. She visited shut-ins in the parish each month before first Friday and arranged for them to receive Holy Communion. She was coordinator of the baptismal team and prepared for the sessions. She was a Eucharistic minister on the lay ministry team. She helped with children’s liturgy on Sunday. She also assisted in Sacramental preparations in Ceylon, Minton, and Pangman parishes. Sister Anne O’Shaughnessy joined the Sisters and became their Superior.

      In 1992, the New Year began with only Sister Alphonsus remaining. The things that were dear to the Sisters were in the process of being terminated. Much thought, consideration, and deliberation on the part of the central administration went into the decision. Negotiations with the hospital board and administration was carried out through long distance phone calls and correspondence from Pembroke. Consultation was undertaken with the Archdiocesan spiritual director, Archbishop Halpin. Because there was no Sister available, another Congregation had to send Sisters to minister to the needs of the Radville Holy Family parish and community. Sister Mary Annew Melenchuk, OSU, was selected for the pastoral care position in the Marian Home and the hospital. On July 26, 1998, Sister Alphonsus was the last of the many Sisters of St. Joseph to serve in Radville.

      Marian Home, Radville, Saskatchewan 1956-1977

      In 1954, the Radville Housing Committee, realizing the pressing need in the community for adequate housing for senior citizens and nursing care for the bedridden, not requiring active hospital care, undertook further developments.

      The Sisters of St. Joseph volunteered to staff and operate this home for the aged and provide the major portion of financing necessary to construct it. Marian Home was built, as a wing or addition to the hospital, but operated as a special unit. It provided accommodation for 50 guests, both ambulatory and bedridden. The first residents were admitted on February 6, 1956. The official opening of Marian Home was on April 18, 1956, and at this time, there were 35 residents. One grateful former patient stated, “The hospital is a Heaven on earth filled with angels.”

      In 1981 the Sisters of St. Joseph of Pembroke transferred ownership of the Radville Community Hospital and Marian Home to the Catholic Health Council of Saskatchewan. While ownership of the medical facilities was transferred, the Sisters still worked at the facilities and owned a cottage retreat in the area for their personal use, which was sold in 1993.

      Radville Community Hospital and Marian Home were demolished in 2015. A memorial to the history of the site was erected in 2017.

      The Sisters who served as Superiors in Radville were Sisters Freda Keon, Benedict Grier, Kathleen Payne, Catherine Healey, Mother Magdalen, and Agnes Cuddy. Others who have given dedicated service in Radville are Sisters Imelda Coyne, Monica Owens, Bernadine Murphy, Mary Joseph Poirier, Margaret O’Connor, Anastasia Rouble, Alphonsus Phelan, Edna Prince, Ethel O’Connor, Marian Burke, Thecla Matte, Francesca Toner, Martha Prince, Emma Castonguay, Marie Bertrand, Anita Levair, Ruth Wade, Imelda Duquette, Justina Graham, and Clare Wren.

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          C. Lacroix, Radville Hospital, Saskatchewan 1946-1998, unpublished manuscript.
          C. Lacroix, Marian Home, 1956-1977, unpublished manuscript.

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