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The 2012 Jubilarians: Nurturing Community for 70 Years

Mary Ruth Creamer CSJ
Eileen Ruth Creamer felt at home with the Sisters of St. Joseph from the time she was a child. She had an aunt in the congregation, also Sr. Mary Ruth. Through visits with her and attending St. Joseph's High School on Jarvis Street, she was well acquainted with many Sisters.

While visiting her aunt, it was through a chance conversation with a doctor at St. Joseph's Hospital that she learned about the work of a lab technician. He even took her for a tour of the lab. "The minute I walked in the door I liked it," she said years later. She took the two-year training course at St. Joseph's Hospital, and then worked on staff for two years before entering the congregation in 1941.

Medical technology was a rapidly developing science during her years of active ministry. "Our work in the laboratory was to assist the doctors in diagnosing ailments and in helping to determine the best type of treatment in each case as quickly as possible. I am grateful and happy to have shared in the health care mission of our congregation." She carried out this ministry for 22 years at St. Joseph's Hospital and 28 years at Providence Centre on staff plus four additional years as a volunteer. In recent years, because of declining health, Sr. Mary Ruth has continued her ministry of "nurturing community" through prayerful support of all our undertakings.

Elaine Dubie CSJ
Margaret Elaine Dubie grew up in the small town of Dalton Mills near Parry Sound in northern Ontario. She attended the local public school for her elementary education and for the first years of high school, completing her secondary school education as a boarder at St. Joseph's in Toronto. It was during these latter years of high school that she began to hear the call from God to become a Sister of St. Joseph. In writing a letter of recommendation for entering, her parish priest commented on how he had noticed that during that summer she "has taken a great interest in working around the church." She entered in September 1941 and for many years was known by her religious name, Sr. Harriet.

After her novitiate, she began her many years of teaching. Being a quietly flexible person with a natural resilience, she moved frequently over the next 30-plus years, teaching in several schools in Ontario as well as in Manitoba and British Columbia. She particularly loved teaching the early, primary grades. Upon retiring from teaching, she continued to "nurture community" both within the congregation and in other facilities through volunteer work. Even as her health became more fragile, she continued to reach out to others. In a ministry questionnaire she wrote, "I do believe that I share in the mission of our congregation, i.e. the mission of Jesus, by prayer, presence, loving support of my Sisters and the dear neighbor." As is so frequently said, Sisters of St. Joseph never really retire.

Enid Selke CSJ
I always wanted to be a teacher (so I could use a red pencil)! I attended St. Joseph's College School and then, on September 7th, 1941, I entered the convent. For 30 years I taught in classrooms across Canada or served as principal in elementary schools, always fostering happy Christian communities. Holy Rosary in Toronto and St. John's in Whitby stand out in my memory with special affection.

In 1982-83, I spent a sabbatical year at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. My studies there prepared me for my ministry across the Diocese of Hearst in Northern Ontario for these past 29 years. I am a member of St. Patrick's Parish Pastoral Team in Kapuskasing where our mission statement is focused on building a strong, vibrant, joyful, welcoming community which celebrates faith, prays and grows together. I began teaching again, offering a variety of courses, workshops, and retreat days. Over the years, many participants grew closer together as a community and deepened their relationship with Our Lord.

In 1986, following my father's death, we built the Frank J. Selke Memorial Resource Centre in his memory to meet the spiritual needs of the English-speaking people in the French parishes in the Hearst Diocese. How fortunate to be able to once again do what I love to do – to teach! The centre's priority is to spread the Good News of God's unconditional love and to create unity and community. As Animator, much of my time is given to obtaining, providing and facilitating programs of a spiritual nature. I have come full circle from my wish as a little girl. As a Sister of St. Joseph of Toronto, 70 years later I'm still busy teaching. (But I no longer want to use a red pencil)!

Mary James McMahon CSJ
Mary McMahon was born and raised in Port Credit. She completed her elementary and secondary education there. Upon graduating from high school, she enrolled in St. Joseph's Hospital School of Nursing, obtaining her R.N. in 1939. She worked as a registered nurse at St. Joseph's Hospital for three years prior to entering the congregation in February, 1942, where she received the religious name, Sr. Mary James. After her novitiate, she returned to nursing at St. Joseph's, staying there for the next twenty years, principally in pediatric nursing, a branch of nursing which she loved. Her natural warmth and sincere caring attitude endeared her to her young patients and their anxious parents. Dressed in the white, traditional nursing habit, one day a young patient asked her if she was the Blessed Virgin, much to her embarrassed amusement.

In the early 1960s she moved to St. Michael's Hospital where she served a short term as assistant administrator and then local leader. In the 1970s she moved again, this time to Providence Villa (now Providence Healthcare) where she was a floor supervisor. From there she went to Morrow Park to continue her nursing care in the infirmary. So whether caring for the very young or the elderly, she brought that same genuine interest and concern for the person under her care to all she served. That same warm personality was also exhibited with her Sisters in community.

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