Author Tags: Medicine, Religion, Women
Having attended St. Ann’s Academy in Victoria, where she was taught by the Sisters of St. Ann, Darlene Southwell worked at their St. Joseph’s Hospital, opened by the Sisters of St. Ann in 1876. During the sixteen years Southwell worked for the Catholic Diocese of Victoria, she was on the Advisory Committee for the restoration of St. Ann’s Academy for eight years, then spent five years researching Caring and Compassion: A History of the Sisters of St. Ann in Health Care in British Columbia (Harbour $29.95).
Founded in Quebec in 1850, the Catholic Congregation of the Sisters of St. Ann concentrated on teaching locally until Bishop Modeste Demers asked for help with his new West Coast diocese. Arriving via Cuba and the Isthmus of Panama, the nuns were taken aback by gold rush fever in Fort Victoria, a fresh haven for “gamblers, swindlers, thieves, drunkards, and jail birds.”
By 1875, Victoria citizens wanted the Sisters to build a hospital, and even though the organization had no money. After founding St. Joseph’s, the still functioning Order started hospitals in Campbell River, Smithers and Oliver, as well as extended care homes in Victoria and Nelson, and a nursing school for in Victoria.
Darlene Southwell was born in Lethbridge, Alberta in October 1941. She moved with her family to Victoria, BC in 1955. After she had attended UVic and UBC, marriage took her to Vancouver and Montreal.
Caring and Compassion: A History of the Sisters of St. Ann in Health Care in British Columbia (Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2011). 978-1-55017-560-8
Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
Caring and Compassion: A History of the Sisters of St. Ann in Health Care in British Columbia