Mount Saint Joseph Hospital opened in Vancouver in 1946, but its history begins many years earlier, with the dream of a young Quebec girl named Délia Tetreault.
The Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception
In 1902, Delia Tetreault of Marieville, Quebec, helped found the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception – the first missionary congregation for women in Canada. Nineteen years later, four Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception moved across Canada to Vancouver. In a home on Keefer Street, they provided health and education services primarily to the Asian community.
By the time the Sisters marked the 25-year anniversary of their arrival in Vancouver, their work had outgrown three buildings, leading to the opening of Mount Saint Joseph Hospital (MSJ) in 1946. During their years in Vancouver, a total of 173 Sisters have served through health care, education, parish work and family counseling. Each and every Sister has been faithful to the teaching of Mother Délia.
Serving the Needs of Multi-Ethnic Communities
Today, MSJ is a 240-bed acute and extended care facility with an international reputation for excellence in providing for the needs of multi-faith and multi-ethnic communities. MSJ was founded on the principles of adaptability and responsiveness to ever-changing community needs, and continues to fulfill that mission.
In response to increasing needs in the community in 1992, MSJ created the positions of director of Multicultural Services and a coordinator of Interpreter Services. The hospital has become a leading voice in the development of public education sessions for ethnic communities, and has taken a leadership role in hosting multicultural health conferences.
A History of Milestones
1946 — Mount Saint Joseph Hospital opens.
1948 – Mount Saint Joseph Hospital is recognized as a general hospital.
1956 – A 50-bed wing is added, thanks in part to the work of the newly created Ladies’ Auxiliary.
1960s – A dramatic drop in maternity admissions leads to a decision to close the maternity ward.
1965 – The chronic care department is converted into an Extended Care Unit, with state-of-the-art physiotherapy facilities.
1969 – A new three-bed Intensive Care Unit is created.
1970 – The Day Care Surgery Centre opens.
1979 – The Short Stay Assessment and Treatment Centre opens, establishing the first specialized geriatric service of its kind in BC.
1984 – Mount Saint Joseph Foundation is established.
1989 – The Lifeline Emergency Response System is introduced (Now the second-largest program of its kind in Canada, the system allows at-risk individuals to wear a button linking them to an emergency centre 24 hours a day, allowing them to safely remain in their own homes.)
1991 – An addition to the fourth floor paves the way for the new pediatric unit; two years later the hospital joins forces with BC’s Children’s Hospital to share expertise and to jointly operate MSJ’s expanded pediatric wing.
1992 – MSJ creates the positions of director of Multicultural Services and a coordinator of Interpreter Services.
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