Miriam Lawless was born in Kingston, Ontario August 2, 1917 to Irene Belanger and Patrick Lawless the eldest of four children. She was baptized and received her first Communion and confirmation at St. Mary’s Cathedral. She received her early education at St. Vincent’s Academy and Notre Dame High School.
The deep-rooted faith of her parents and her close association with Sisters Mary Hildegarde and Genevieve as a music pupil led her to embrace religious life, August 15, 1934, making First Profession on August 15, 1936.
Sister Miriam received her nurses’ training at St. Vincent de Paul Hospital, Brockville. Her ministry in nursing included General Duty and Supervisor of Medical, Surgical and Obstetrics Departments in Brockville and Smiths Falls. After post-graduate studies in Obstetrics and acquiring a Bachelor of Nursing Science Degree, she joined the teaching staff at St Mary’s Hospital in Montreal where she remained for 15 years. Following this she was assigned to St. Mary’s of the Lake Hospital in Kingston to organize a Nursing Service Department and later to the same duties at Providence Manor. When the news broke that Sister Miriam was leaving Providence Manor, one of the staff members wrote, “She has melded a beautiful feeling of loyalty and co-operation in the nursing team of Providence Manor.” When her brother, Father Francis Lawless, a priest for the Sault Ste. Marie Diocese, was in failing health the community granted her permission to be his parish assistant. After spending 10 years with her brother until his death, she returned to St Mary’s of the Lake Hospital and retired from active duty but kept busy with “behind the scenes duties” until she moved to the Motherhouse.
Sister Miriam died peacefully on January 2, 2015. The Mass of Christian Burial, held in the Chapel of Mary, Mother of Compassion, Providence Motherhouse on Wednesday, January 7, was presided over by Most Rev. Brendan O’Brien, Archbishop of Kingston, accompanied by other members of the clergy. Rev. Robert Masters delivered the homily.