Earlier this year, Providence Associate Jan Kehoe retired from the chaplaincy team at St. Joseph’s Auxiliary Hospital, which had been founded by the Sisters of Providence.
She used that opportunity to look back at her long association with the Congregation.
The Sisters of Providence held a role in my life and a place in my heart since first moving to Camrose, Alberta from Manitoba in 1981. In 2000, Sister Bernadine Bokenfohr invited me to learn about the charism, spirituality and mission of the Sisters of Providence and to become an Associate.
In January 2008, Sister Grace Maguire encouraged me to apply for the position of Spiritual and Religious Care Worker at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Edmonton, where we now lived. I was blessed to have Sister Benilda as a mentor and teacher, one who treated each resident and patient with compassion and respect. The care offered at St. Joe’s is a sign of Christ’s compassion for the vulnerable.
To maintain the Catholic identity of the hospital, we regularly distributed Holy Communion, visited the dying, prepared for three Masses per week, arranged for the Sacrament of the Sick for all Catholics, led a group with the rosary and the Stations of the Cross, organized memorial services, missioned new staff, and participated in family conferences. Duties included offering spiritual support through prayer and scripture, or listening to the concerns of residents of all cultures and faiths, as well as taking residents to the chapel for various denominational services. When Sr. Benilda left in 2009, the Sisters in Edmonton continued to support St. Joe’s by their visits.
For the almost six years that I ministered at St. Joe’s, my vision was to follow the mission of the Sisters of Providence. As an Associate with the mentorship of Sr. Bernadine and Sr. Benilda, I strive to serve with compassion, to trust in Providence, and to walk in hope.