In 1868, shortly after their arrival in London, Ontario, the Sisters of St. Joseph founded Mount Hope to provide a home for Sisters, the elderly and orphans. It was renamed House of Providence, and continued to provide care for the elderly until 1966. The first hospital founded by the London Sisters was St. Joseph’s Hospital at the corner of Richmond and Grosvenor Streets in London. This ten bed hospital opened on October 15, 1888, and still located on this site. The facility, now named St. Joseph’s Health Care, has expanded to encompass the original hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital which opened in 1951, Marian Villa which opened in 1966, and the Lawson Research Centre which opened in 1983. Later, Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care was opened on the site. In July 1993 St. Joseph’s Health Care Society formed in London, and the hospital was then transferred to a separate authority. Other healthcare institutions administered by the Sisters were found at different locations in London. The St. Joseph’s Hospital Detoxification Clinic opened in 1973 on William Street and was administered by Sister St. Patrick Joyce until 2005 when the province terminated its contract with St. Joseph’s Hospital. The Sisters sold the building and the Withdrawal Management Centre moved to the Centre of Hope operated by the Salvation Army in October 2005. The Family Medical Centre opened in 1969 on Platt’s Lane and is still in operation today, although under the authority of St. Joseph’s Health Care Society.
On October 15, 1890, the Sisters opened St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chatham, Ontario, which originally was a 16 bed hospital in the former old Salvation Army barracks. In January 1892, the hospital moved to a new site on King Street. In February 2018, the Chatham Kent Health Alliance formed, amalgamating Sydenham District Hospital, the Public General Hospital, and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chatham.
In 1946, the Sisters opened St. Joseph’s Hospital in Sarnia, which was later renamed the St. Joseph’s Health Centre. In January 1998 the signing of the Strategic Alliance Agreement between St. Joseph’s Health Care Society on behalf of St. Joseph’s Hospital Sarnia and Sarnia General Hospital took place. Ownership of the hospital was later transferred to the Lambton Hospitals Group.
In Alberta, the Sisters opened several hospitals in small, rural communities, first in Stettler in 1926 at the requrest of Archbishop H. J. O’Leary. The hospital was in a neglected state and the Sisters attempted to improve it over two years, but due to bigotry in the area, had to withdraw in 1927. They went to Galahad next, where they opened St. Joseph’s Hospital in a former teacherage as they awaited construction of a proper facility, which finally opened in September 1928 and was administered by the Sisters until 1978. After this, they opened the Killam General Hospital in 1930 which became part of the Killam Hospital Complex, including the Flagstaff Beaver Auxiliary Hospital in 1963. The latter closed in 1992. Following another request from Archbishop O’Leary, the Sisters went to Rimbey in 1932 to operate St. Paul’s Hospital for the Archdiocese of Edmonton until 1949, at which point the hospital ownership and management came under the authority of the local lay community.
In 1967, the Sisters opened a clinic, the Zana Consultario, in Chiclayo Diocese, Peru, which they operated until 1975 when due to many factors, including difficulties with the authorities, the clinic closed in 1975.
Since the beginning, at Mount Hope and the House of Providence, the Sisters saw a great need for health care services, especially when no others were providing it. Over time, the government became more involved and more lay people obtained qualifications in management and clinical practice. The Sisters then relinquished their administration of health care facilities that they had founded and administered, and turned to working in individual ministries, in pastoral care in hospitals, and still with the poor, for whom they ministered from their first days in London, Ontario.