From left: Hume Martin (CHSO Board Chair), Sister Sandra Shannon (General Superior of the Sisters of Providence) and John Ruetz (CHSO President and CEO)
Sisters of Providence Transfer Their Home and Property to Catholic Health Sponsors of Ontario
For 89 of their 157 years of service, the Sisters of Providence of Saint Vincent de Paul have lived and worked from their Motherhouse and grounds at 1200 Princess Street, Kingston, Ontario. With declining membership and the aging of those remaining, the Sisters have been passing along some of their ministries and bringing others to completion.
On Tuesday, October 8, 2019 they took a long-contemplated step. With a careful and beautiful ceremony, the Sisters transferred their home and property to its new owners.
Sister Sandra Shannon reflected that while this was a moment full of hope for the future of Providence Village it was also one full of sadness and grieving for the Sisters.
The ceremony opened in prayer and an honouring of the four seasons, four directions, and the four elements. In a Twig and Turf ceremony the owners to be, the Catholic Health Sponsors of Ontario (CHSO), lifted a strip of sod from the ground and placed a found twig into it. This symbol was presented to the Sisters as a pledge that CHSO would hold the land in care. A small statue of Saint Vincent de Paul and a pin representing CHSO and its vision of Healthy Communities for All were placed into the ground from where the sod had been lifted.
The sod was then returned to its place by the CHSO, sealing the symbols set into the ground.
“All here are witnesses that the Sisters of Providence of Saint Vincent de Paul have transferred the land of 1200 Princess Street, Kingston, Ontario to CHSO to be held in trust by the Catholic Congregational Legacy Charity. The placing of the twig in the sod and the two symbols now buried under it signifies that this transaction is complete. This property is now in the care of the Catholic Health Sponsors of Ontario,” said Sister Sandra Shannon.
“Providence Village is the newest Catholic health organization in Canada,” said John Ruetz, CHSO President and CEO.
“In Canada, Catholic healthcare’s roots are typically in institutional care. Some of that history will continue on this site but, in addition, Providence Village will be looking upstream to better understand the social determinants of health and what services are specifically needed in this community to keep the residents of Kingston as healthy as possible. We can now envision the services that will be here on this site. This is not just a concept but an active vision that is already starting to come to life,” Ruetz said.
“To Sister Sandra, and to all of the Sisters of Providence – it has been an honour to work with you as you make plans for your own future. We gratefully accept this gift – which will always be your home – and pledge to oversee its development consistent with your intentions,” Ruetz said.
The ceremony was closed in song, begun by one group and ending with another, a round of voices each singing their part.