Media Release: ‘Standing on the shoulders of giants’

For inspiration and encouragement during the pandemic, St. Joseph’s staff and physicians are listening to “The Whisper of the Sisters.”

LONDON, Ontario – The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented time for health care providers around the globe, with historic challenges. But at St. Joseph’s Health Care London, trail blazers of long ago have helped guide the way. They are the pioneering Sisters of St. Joseph who laid an indomitable foundation of responding in times of great need – with respect, excellence and compassion.

This legacy can be felt at all times within the walls of St. Joseph’s, but now it can also be heard. To offer inspiration and encouragement to staff and physicians during the pandemic, Dale Nikkel, Coordinator of Spiritual Care at St. Joseph’s, is connecting today’s care providers to the legacy of the Sisters through song. He wrote and recorded the The Whisper of the Sisters, which was recently shared across the organization.

“The Sisters of St. Joseph faced contagious diseases at different times in their history,” says Nikkel. “Records show that back in 1899, there were times when one-third of the hospital beds were occupied by patients with typhoid fever – a significant epidemic at the turn of the century. They would also have provided care when the Spanish flu infected hundreds of thousands of Ontarians a century ago, spreading fear and panic. It’s a different time. And a different disease. But  we follow the same spirit of togetherness and compassion today, ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ to navigate these current challenges.”

Nikkel has been writing songs for many years, performing in cafes, churches and folk clubs, using music as a form of expression and celebration. His musical outlet these days is playing guitar with his family bluegrass band with his wife and three children. In The Whisper of the Sisters, accompanied by historic as well as timely photos taken at St. Joseph’s, Nikkel reminds staff and physicians that strength and courage can be found in the spirit and “gentle whisper” of the Sisters.

If you let yourself be still,

you can hear the gentle whisper

of the voices of the Sisters,

the Sisters of St. Joseph


And they’re calling out our names

Telling us to be the change

And in trials that we face,

They’re with us all the way

“Now more than ever, all members of the St. Joseph’s family are living the values instilled by our founding Sisters of St. Joseph,” says Dr. Gillian Kernaghan, President and CEO of St. Joseph’s. “The Whisper of the Sisters is truly a moving and beautiful tribute to the Sisters and all who carry on their work today.”


For more information:

Dahlia Reich
Communication Consultant
Office: 519.646.6100 ext. 65294
Cell: 519 619-0971, pager 10117


About St. Joseph’s Health Care London

Renowned for compassionate care, St. Joseph’s Health Care London is a leading academic health care centre in Canada dedicated to helping people live to their fullest by minimizing the effects of injury, disease and disability through excellence in care, teaching and research. Through partnership with Lawson Health Research Institute and our collaborative engagement with other health care and academic partners, St. Joseph’s has become an international leader in the areas of: chronic disease management; medical imaging; specialized mental health care; rehabilitation and specialized geriatrics; and surgery.  St. Joseph’s operates through a wide range of hospital, clinic and long-term and community based settings, including: St. Joseph’s Hospital; Parkwood Institute; Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care; and the Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care.  For more information, visit  

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