Love lessons

Margie Harper died at age 97 at Our Lady of the Rosary Hospital in Castor. The Daughters of Wisdom, who founded the hospital in 1911, gave Margie an education and inspired her life’s vocation of nursing.

Siblings Margo and Carolynn were grateful their mother received palliative care at Our Lady of the Rosary Hospital, where their mom had her first nursing job in 1941.

“There was no money for education in her family," Carolynn explains. “Mom was able to work at the convent as a young woman in exchange for room and board. She was grateful for this gift, and inspired by the dedication and devotion of the sisters.” 

Margie Harper as a young nurse with friends

Margie attended nursing school in Calgary, then returned home to accept her first nursing job with the Daughters of Wisdom at the Castor hospital in 1941. “They taught her to provide care for the whole personbody, mind and spirit.” 

The original wing of Our Lady of the Rosary Hospital was established by the Daughters of Wisdom in 1911 as a hospital and convent, and is a designated Canadian Historic Site.

Though Margie moved on to other roles in public health nursing, she held fast to those early lessons from the nuns. “The sisters taught Mom the value of compassion and intuition,” explains Margo. “She believed you needed to look in a patient’s eyes for insight into the whole picture of what was going on with them. She knew how to connect to their hearts and souls.”

Margie with her daughter Carolynn.

“Mom understood the spiritual needs of her patients, and felt they were as important as physical needs,” adds Carolynn. “She believed deeply that the face of God is most seen in the suffering, the lonely and the sick.”

“We feel fortunate that Mom was able to die in Our Lady of the Rosary Hospital," says Margo. “Mom had an incredible connection to this site. We could look out the window of Mom’s palliative care room and see the convent and the cross kind of glowing in the night. That kind of circular journey, and the personal nature of the care, is unique to a rural community. It was a beautiful part of Mom’s dying time.” 

Read more about Margie’s meaningful life and death in the 2017 Annual Report to the Community

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