St. Joe’s celebrates 80 years in Estevan healthcare

An amazing 80-year history of health care in Estevan was commemorated forever with three displays at St. Joseph’s Hospital Monday.

As part of the 80th anniversary celebrations, a pair of appreciation walls and a historical display are now the new additions at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

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“We chose the opportunity of the 80th anniversary to celebrate a lot of the great things that have happened over the years and most notable, two of our most significant contributors over the years,” said Greg Hoffort, the hospital's executive director.

In the late 1930s, the Sisters of St. Joseph moved to Estevan to establish a new hospital to replace the one that burnt down. The St. Joseph Ladies’ Auxiliary have helped with fundraising for the last 80 years.

Appreciation walls to the Sisters of St. Joseph, who ran the hospital for much of its history, and the St. Joseph Auxiliary, were also unveiled near the emergency room area.

Sister Theresa Roddy, the last St. Joseph’s sister to be executive director at the hospital, was present at the unveilings and the come and go tea. She said the sisters still think of Estevan and are

“You started before the hospital was even opened,” said Roddy. “It was making linens for the hospital and… a number of other things. And we continue that from then to now and I’m really proud of you.”

Roddy said that when she first came to the hospital in administration, the auxiliary had been giving so many things to the hospital. She asked them to sponsor a monitor in the intensive care unit and she felt that they thought it was beyond them.

“A year later and they had it paid for, and it went on from them to now,” she said.

There were a lot of memories from the past brought up at the two appreciation wall unveilings near the emergency area entrance. 

“I remember when they were going to build this hospital, Sister Teresa came to us and asked if we could pledge $50,000,” said Nola Joseph, past-president of the St. Joseph’s Auxiliary. “We thought, oh my goodness, how are we ever going to raise $50,000? But as you can see, with the support of the auxiliary, the community and with the co-operation of the hospital, right from the maintenance staff up to the CEO we just can’t say enough good about them.”

The auxiliary has been a driving force for many of the good things that have happened at the hospital over the years, Hoffort said.

“Not just the equipment that they purchase, but the services they provide our patients, the functions they attend to, the teas they’re involved in, (and) they’re hosting this event here. They’re a tireless group of some of the finest people in our community.”

It’s nice to be able to pay tribute to both groups, Hoffort said, in their 80-year history. Several former St. Joseph’s staff members were present Monday.

“We started (Monday) morning with a pancake breakfast and a mass in our chapel, the come and go tea and we’re going to conclude it with an appreciation for our past staff and our present staff,” said Hoffort. “We’ve had many former staff come.”

Sister Sandra Boyer, a former staff member, also lives in Peterborough, Ont. along with Roddy.
“We’re happy that they were able to be here to pay tribute to their accomplishment,” Hoffort said.

There was also a historical display of some of the items found over the years from previous hospitals in Estevan. Hoffort said that there were various items kept by staff members and the sisters over the 80 years. Those will now be kept in a display case in the wall by the auditorium.

“For years we tried to come up with a way to properly display this stuff,” Hoffort said. “Our management team, we put our thoughts together and we came up with a little location.”

They’ll now forever be preserved, Hoffort said. 

“One of the most notable items is the cross that used to be on top of the old hospital in Estevan and so we located that and made it a part of our history,” he said. “There’s all sorts of neat equipment that was part of our 80 years and now we’ll continue to add to that little legacy of the hospital.”

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