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In 1881, the first Sisters of St. Joseph arrived at Prince Arthur’s Landing (Port Arthur). It did not take long for the Sisters to recognize the need for a hospital. When a man who had been injured working on the rail lines was brought to the Sisters’ convent for care, they knew they had to help in whatever way they could. They had no room in their convent other than their chapel, which they converted into a hospital room to care for this gentleman. With fundraising and support from the community, Mother Monica built St. Joseph’s Hospital which opened in 1884.
Mother Monica and the first Sisters would be amazed at the way health care has changed over 125 years. However, they would not be surprised that the Sisters have followed in their footsteps, always working with and for the community in meeting unmet needs.
In 1983 St. Joseph’s Foundation of Thunder Bay was created as a charitable foundation. The first major fundraising initiative was the St. Joseph’s Heritage SOS Campaign. The campaign had the heavy burden to pay off the mortgage on St. Joseph’s Heritage in order to keep the facility open and operational. The campaign was a tremendous success and within four months had raised $3.9m, through from the community. Together with the community support, the Sisters of St. Joseph, the CIBC, the ODC and CMHC the existing debt was retired and St. Joseph’s Heritage was able to remain open to serve the residents, clients and families.