I just read about Sister Joan O'Sullivan, CSJ, a Sister of Saint Joseph from Hamilton, Ontario (Canada), who died last week. My prayers and condolences to her sisters and loved ones. I knew a few sisters from her community when I was in school in Toronto.  As we begin this week honoring nurses, it seems appropriate to celebrate Sister Joan, a Catholic sister who was also a nurse and administrator and dedicated to helping others.

I am captivated by this photo of her. It speaks to me of so much love, ingenuity, and earthiness! The photo is a Hamilton Spectator file photo.

She is described as a trailblazer, and the driving force behind expanding St. Joseph's hospital and health care system. She built at a time when funding was questionable, a risky but courageous choice that the Hamilton community -- and beyond -- continue to benefit from. An article by Joanna Frketich of the Hamilton Spectator has a few quotes from Sister Ann Anderson, CSJ, Sister Joan's friend of 50 years.

“She mentored generations of nurses, and then when she moved into senior administration she administered generations of young administrators,” said Anderson.

She was such a good leader, because she showed respect to all the staff, no matter what role they played in the hospital....

Lovingly known as “Joan O,” she was a sister of St. Joseph’s for 67 years. Anderson said she loved dogs of all kinds — “anything with four feet and a wagging tail.”

“Her faith was the anchor that kept her rooted, active and interested,” said Anderson. “Her loss certainly will leave a great void in the congregation, but her memory will be a great joy. The tone at the Motherhouse is that we are all profoundly grateful for a life well lived.” 

Thanks be to God for Sister Joan!