St. Mary’s General Hospital and Sisters of St. Joseph of Hamilton Present Prestigious Mission Legacy Awards

June 18th, 2014

Local individuals honoured for ‘exceptional’ service to St. Mary’s

St. Mary’s General Hospital today recognized eight local people and one family over generations who have contributed in “an exceptional manner” to the health care ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Hamilton, St. Mary’s General Hospital and the St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation.

St. Mary’s was founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Hamilton, who opened its doors in 1924. Since that time, the hospital’s staff, physicians and volunteers have proudly carried on the legacy of compassionate, excellent care delivered by the Sisters. “Dignity, compassion and respect are the hallmarks of care at St. Mary’s,” said President, Don Shilton. “For more than 80 years, our people have cultivated these hallmarks, and we are proud to celebrate the outstanding individuals who help bring these characteristics to life.”

The 2014 honorees are: The Lackner Family, *Walter McGibbon, Theresa Monaghan, *Sister Xavier Reding, *Vincent and Anne Scherer, Faye Scott, Colleen Semple, *Bessie Witt (*indicates posthumous award).

An award presentation and reception was held today at St. Mary’s to recognize the recipients, who were chosen by a selection committee comprised of St. Mary’s Board members, volunteers, Foundation representatives and staff.

Nominations are accepted internally, as well as from members of the community at large. More information about the Mission Legacy Awards, including how to submit a nomination, can be found at

More on Our Distinguished Recipients:

The Lackner Family

Over three generations, the Lackner family built an unparalleled legacy of commitment to patient care at St. Mary’s, contributing a number of “firsts”. Dr. Harry Lackner performed the first surgery in the original St. Mary’s Hospital, his son, Dr. Allister Lackner, performed the first surgery in the new addition, and his son, Dr. John Lackner was the first Joint Chief of Staff of St. Mary’s and Grand River Hospitals.

Walter McGibbon*

Walter McGibbon contributed 29 years of volunteer leadership at St. Mary’s as Chairman of its Advisory Board (1943-1971) and Chair of the Board of Trustees for its inaugural year. Mr. McGibbon was described as a “tower of strength” during years of political and public debate over a much-needed expansion at St. Mary’s. The Hospital eventually expanded under his leadership in the early 1960s with government funding and ambitious fundraising campaigns.

Theresa Monaghan

Theresa Monaghan served as a volunteer at St. Mary’s for 54 years, beginning in 1960. She is described as a “true lady” who assisted patients arriving at St. Mary’s with a warm smile, compassion and calmness. She was involved with many fundraising activities and patient service programs. Theresa was part of the leadership team for the Festival of Trees and the annual card party, and treasurer for the Volunteer Association.

Sister Xavier Reding*

Sister Xavier Reding was a trained nurse who was the youngest of the first Sisters of St. Joseph to be posted to St. Mary’s. She served as Supervisor of Nurses, a position she held previously at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton. A former student at the St. Mary’s School of Nursing described her as a stimulating teacher, and one of the most intelligent and gifted women she had ever met.

Vincent and Anne Scherer*

Vincent and Anne Scherer had a long history as passionate volunteers and donors at St. Mary’s, always willing to lend support wherever needed. Vincent served on various St. Mary’s boards and committees and was instrumental in organizing galas during the 1970s and 1980s with all proceeds donated to Kitchener hospitals. Anne was also active at St. Mary’s for many years and carried on Vincent’s legacy after his passing in 1987.

Faye Scott

Faye Scott, a Registered Practical Nurse at St. Mary’s (1963 – 1999), was loved by patients, staff and physicians for her friendliness, sense of humour and calm, reassuring manner. Faye was known for her meticulous setup of instruments for physicians at a time when minor outpatient procedures were done in the Emergency Department. When the Minor Outpatient Program moved, she transferred with it for the final 10 years of her career.

Colleen Semple

Colleen has served St. Mary’s as a Social Worker since 1985, including 12 years as Social Work Professional Practice Lead. She treats every patient and family member with compassion, dignity and respect, and goes above and beyond to help those in need. She is highly knowledgeable about discharge planning and community resources. Colleen was involved in developing a palliative unit and remains committed to providing supports for patients and families.

Bessie Witt*

Bessie Witt was a Registered Nurse who served St. Mary’s from 1969 to 1988 and was Head Nurse on the cardiology unit. Bessie was a strong patient advocate, offering comfort and encouragement. She was attentive to the needs of her staff, occasionally working shifts for them so they could attend family events. Before coming to Kitchener, Bessie and her husband served as missionaries in Nigeria for 15 years.

*indicates posthumous award