In 17th century France, a layman named Jérôme le Royer de la Dauversière – a man of great faith – had a surprising vision in which the spirit called upon him to found a congregation of women religious to care for the sick, the poor and the vulnerable; and to do so by founding a colony and a hospital in New-France (in what we now know as Montreal). Jérôme, along with a woman named Marie de la Ferre, helped to form the community that later became known as the Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph.
It was Jérôme who recruited Paul de Chomedy de Maisoneuve and a lay nurse named Jeanne Mance to help to lead the colonization of New France and to operate the first hospital in what we now know as Montreal. And it was in 1659 that the first three Sisters were sent by Jérôme le Royer to join Jeanne Mance in Montreal at the first Hotel Dieu Hospital in North America – caring for the sick and the poor with tender compassion.
In 1845, at the invitation of the Bishop of Kingston, four RHSJ Sisters came to Kingston to meet community needs by establishing a Catholic hospital here – first located on Brock Street. Our Sisters began here by caring for sick immigrants with typhoid, children left orphaned by epidemics, and those in the community who were sick and vulnerable. Indeed, through the charism of their congregation, they made visible the compassionate healing presence of God to all persons in their care.
With their focus on dignity of the human person, the Sisters led and inspired action to support the vulnerable in this community, in addition to those who came to Hotel Dieu for care:
- They established the Partners in Mission Food Bank
- They opened the Detoxification Centre on Brock St.
- They helped to establish the Kingston Youth Shelter and many other programs and agencies that continue to support the vulnerable in our community to this day.
Our founders – from Jérôme le Royer and Marie de la Ferre, to Jeanne Mance and our Sisters of today – continue to inspire a sense of deep commitment and pride in our work. As envisioned by Jérôme, compassion and respect for the dignity of the person continues to serve as an enduring values and commitment that guide all those who continue this mission today.
Legacy HDH site mission and values
Mission statement: The mission of Hotel Dieu Hospital in Kingston, rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is to make visible the compassionate healing presence of God to all persons. We share in this Mission by being a caring and just community. This is expressed through the pursuit of excellence in health service, education and research.
Values: Dignity of the Human Person, Compassion, Justice, Integrity, Excellence