In January of 2008, Sister Rita Gleason retired from St. Joseph’s Auxiliary Hospital after almost 7 years as a member of the Spiritual and Religious Team. As part of this team Sister Rita ministered to residents’ spiritual, emotional and physical needs, including directing the staff choir which sang at Memorial Services of deceased residents. After retiring, Sister Rita returned to St. Joseph’s to volunteer her musical talents until recently.
BY SISTER RITA GLEASON
On August 9th, 2018, staff members and volunteers gathered in the Atrium of St. Joseph’s Auxiliary Hospital to say farewell. I was the last of 95 Sisters who served at St. Joseph’s so, in a sense, it was not only a farewell to me but also to all the Sisters who served there and left.
As I received the 2 dozen roses, I accepted them on behalf of our community and the founding Sisters who established the hospital in 1927.
It was a privilege to work in the beginning with Sister Mary Benilda and Sister Miriam Helm (Sister of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Halifax) in the Spiritual Care department and then later to serve as a volunteer, playing the organ for the Masses and for the memorial services.
I also enjoyed the Wednesdays in which I played the piano for the “happy hour” on 2nd floor before the residents’ supper. As I played, I witnessed the residents come alive, smiling and keeping time to the music by tapping their feet or tapping their hands on the table and joining in by singing the old familiar songs.
I grew very fond of the residents and became more and more appreciative of the staff and volunteers as I witnessed their dedication and compassionate care for the residents and patients. As you walk into the hospital one cannot help but notice the peace within.
I will always cherish my experiences there and the friends I have made over the years, and I will continue to hold them in prayer.