History: St. Joseph's Hospital

In 1868, the Sisters of St. Joseph came to London and were commissioned by the Bishop and the Diocese of London to visit the sick and the poor, teach the young and open an orphanage, which was to be called Mount Hope.

From its foundation in October, 1869, Mount Hope was much more that an orphanage. It was a "refuge and comfortable home for the sick, the infirm, the destitute and the forsaken," including both children and homeless elderly people.

Upon encouragement from the government and community, in 1888, the Sisters decided to open a hospital. On October 15,1888, St. Joseph's Hospital was officially opened, initially with 10 beds and space to accommodate 24 patients in total. The staff consisted of three Sisters and four doctors.

It was out of this humble beginning and the mission of the Sisters that St. Joseph's Hospital and all its affiliated services grew. Indeed, the hospital continues to provide the type of care that was initiated and nurtured by the Sisters, in the tradition of faith and caring. Today, St. Joseph's retains its close affiliation with the Sisters and the Catholic Church through its owner, St. Joseph's Health Care Society of London.

View a three-part video about St. Joseph's Hospital

Historical photo of St. Joseph's Health Care, London

More history details:

  • Historical timeline of St. Joseph's Health Care London
  • Staying connected to our rootsAn exhibition space has been created at St. Joseph’s Hospital to showcase a medical artifact and memorabilia collection that takes us back in time at the hospital and the St. Joseph’s Nursing School. There will be several themed exhibits a year in the space, which is open to staff, physicians, volunteers and visitors. If you are a history buff, be sure to visit. You can slip back in time, see how far health care has come, and find awe in the achievements of all those who provided care at a very different time.

The heritage corner can be found in Zone A, Level 1, near the Richmond Street entrance.

  • Current exhibit

The first exhibit in the St. Joseph’s Hospital heritage corner is called “Faith and Caring”. The display reflects the health care vision that was unique to the founding Sisters of St. Joseph and their devotion to the values of respect, excellence and compassion in the tradition of faith and caring. Along with some of the diagnostic, surgical and pharmaceutical devices on display, there are also items of comfort for body, mind and spirit. These reflect a vision that endures at St. Joseph today.

  • A love for all things beautiful
Dr. William J. Fischer (pictured below) was the House Surgeon at St. Joseph's Hospital in 1903. While he was in London he published a book of poems entitled "Songs by the Wayside", a copy of which has been acquired for the collection. He also wrote for magazines and published another book of poems, "The Toiler", in 1907. As well as his prose, Dr. Fischer had a passion for music. He was a talented player of the pianoforte as well as a composer of a number of musical pieces. The surgeon also took great delight in rare songbirds and amassed one of the largest collections of them in Canada at the time.

Sister Genevieve Hennessy writes of Dr. Fischer: "His works reveal a cheerful optimism, a sympathetic leaning towards the beautiful in nature and humanity." (Chronicles of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Diocese of London from 1868 - 1932, from The Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada Archives).

Dr. Fischer's book and more information about the early physicians at St. Joseph's Hospital will be on display in the next exhibit in November, 2016. Stay tuned for more details.
Dr. Fisher


Last updated: Thu, 2017-02-09 09:35