Today marks the death of Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart (1823-1902). Born Esther Pariseau in Montreal, she joined the Sisters of Providence at age twenty. In 1856, she and four other sisters were sent to Fort Vancouver, Washington. In 1858 she founded the first permanent hospital in the Pacific Northwest, St. Joseph’s. By the time of her death she had established 29 institutions across the Pacific Northwest: schools, hospitals, orphanages, homes for the elderly, and a mental asylum. Her last words to her Sisters were:
My dear sisters, allow me to recommend to you the care of the poor in our houses, as well as those without. Take good care of them; have no fear of them; assist them and receive them. Then, you will have no regrets. Do not say: ah! this does not concern me, let others see to them. My sisters, whatever concerns the poor is always our affair.