Service Through Christ Award
Our Service Through Christ Award honours people in our community who work to carry on the legacy of our founding Sisters.
Our founding Sisters met the needs of their times with compassion. We joined the Catholic community in honouring the Sisters in a ceremony in Edmonton in 2011. Former premier Ed Stelmach unveiled the Service Through Christ statue, which names 74 congregations that helped build health care, social services and education in the province. It stands near the Legislature Building to remind us of their service. To honour those in our community who serve with the same care today, we created the Service Through Christ Award.
A legacy of service
Gail Cameron was the senior director of operations for women’s and child health at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital until she retired in 2021. She tirelessly promoted family-centred care, and she worked to create programs for vulnerable mothers and children, including the Foster Care Clinic.
Dr. Fred MacDonald
Dr. Fred MacDonald was a Covenant medical leader until he retired in 2014. He was a pioneer in pulmonary medicine who designed the first intensive care unit in Edmonton in 1971. In 1992, he helped create what is now the G.F. MacDonald Centre for Lung Health. It provides care for thousands of Albertans.
Elda Barva is the former administrator at St. Michael’s Health Centre and Martha’s House in Lethbridge. She took on this role following a long nursing career there. She opened Martha’s House under the St. Michael’s Housing Authority, which later became our sibling organization, Covenant Living. She was also instrumental in maintaining the Martha Retreat Centre in Lethbridge as a wellness retreat following the Sisters’ departure from Lethbridge. She remains an active volunteer there.
Richard Fraser is a lifelong supporter of Catholic health care as a healing ministry of the Roman Catholic Church. He has worked tirelessly to ensure that the interests of Catholic health care are protected legally and that partnerships with various health authorities respect its identity, purpose and ethical traditions.
Richard believes in our mission of service and in defending the rights of those who are vulnerable or at the margins. He has consistently demonstrated this commitment during his many years of service to the Covenant family.Watch the 2020 Awards
Brother Tom Maddix
A member of the Brothers of Holy Cross, Tom Maddix worked as an educator, teaching high school, college and university courses. He served for 10 years as the director of mission services for the Alberta Catholic Health Corporation and for another four years as vice-president, organizational advancement with Caritas Health Group in Edmonton before assuming the role of vice-president, mission, ethics and spirituality with Providence Health Care in Vancouver.
Throughout his career, Tom contributed leadership in mission and organizational integrity, fostering a culture grounded in a living spiritually within and for Catholic health organizations. He is probably best known for facilitating formation programs for leaders in Catholic health care in Alberta and across Canada for over 30 years. He continued this work even after his retirement.
Sister Mary Ellen O’Neill
In her six decades of working in health care, Sister Mary Ellen O’Neill has demonstrated skill, compassion and tenacity. She worked as an operating room nurse before entering religious life in 1958, taking her final vows as a Sister of Charity of Notre Dame d’Evron in 1960. Since then, she has worked in clinics, administration and governance, including as provincial superior of her order.
In addition to being a faithful model of caring for the sick, Sister Mary Ellen is also a living example of how to thoughtfully pass the legacy of Catholic health care to the next generation. She served on the Alberta Hospital Board Association and fought to ensure a just equity agreement as the Sisters turned their facilities over to the Alberta government.
Sister Mary Ellen’s life has shown us that service involves both collaboration and fearless advocacy and that we must always see the face of Christ in the people we serve.
Bishop Fred Henry
Bishop Fred Henry was ordained as a priest in 1968 and served as the Bishop of Calgary from 1998 to 2017. It was his pastoral vision that ensured the Carmelite Sisters’ long-standing ministry to the people of Medicine Hat would live on, with operations transitioning to Covenant Health and new palliative care beds opening at Carmel Hospice.
Bishop Henry also tirelessly supported the renewal of Catholic health care in Calgary, which led to the establishment of four new facilities, including Dulcina Hospice. His service is characterized by infectious energy and stamina. And his legacy will live on in the compassionate Christlike care provided to patients and residents in Medicine Hat, Calgary and beyond.
W. John Brennan
John Brennan provided wise and astute leadership and service to unify and strengthen Catholic healthcare ministry in Alberta. As board chair of Caritas Health Group, his vision, courage and commitment to Catholic health care were instrumental during a pivotal time when Alberta was moving towards a single health authority and Catholic health ministries across the province were facing many challenges. Working within a provincial group of Catholic leaders, he played a critical role in establishing Covenant Health. Under his stewardship, we grew our contribution to the province with the creation of Covenant Care and a growth plan for Covenant Living. John was the founding father of our Covenant family, and his impact lives on in everything we do. He served as chair of the Covenant board with a steady, thoughtful and courageous hand until his retirement in 2015.
Mary Pat Skene
Throughout her career as a nurse and leader, Mary Pat Skene has dedicated herself to her patients, residents, families, teams and the healing legacy of Catholic health care. She served on the founding board of Covenant Health, providing wise counsel through our formative years, and now serves as a director for our Catholic sponsor. Mary Pat’s nursing career spans clinical, teaching, administrative, executive and governance roles in both the Catholic and public health systems. Her commitment to mission and values has shaped her leadership and impact in many senior positions, including chief executive officer of St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon, chief executive officer of the Sisters of Charity (Grey Nuns) of Alberta and board chair of the Catholic Health Association of Canada. As a passionate advocate for quality and person-centred care, Mary Pat inspires us all to live out the Grey Nuns’ guiding vision that “together, we are summoned to be vibrant and compassionate signs of hope in our broken world.”
Sister Nuala Kenny
Sister Nuala Kenny, a member of the Sisters of Charity of Halifax, received her medical degree from Dalhousie University in 1972, where she later founded the department of bioethics. She has authored over 100 papers and several books. Her research interests include pediatric ethics, professionalism, ethics in health policy and public health, end-of-life care and the clergy abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church. In 1999, she was appointed an officer of the Order of Canada for her contributions to child health and medical education. She has received many more honours, including the 2008 Canadian Bioethics Society Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2008 Canadian Healthcare Association Distinguished Service Award and the 2008 Catholic Health Association of Canada Performance Citation Award.
Rev. Francis G. Morrisey, OMI
Father Francis Morrisey has spent much of his life teaching canon law at St. Paul University in Ottawa. He has shared his experience and wisdom as a consultant to the Vatican, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and numerous religious communities throughout the world. He is well-versed in the concerns of Catholic health care in Canada and has been a generous and wise resource whom Covenant Health has routinely consulted on matters of canon law and sponsorship.
Dean Rook grew up in Madison, South Dakota. After serving in the U.S. navy from 1962 to 1966, he completed a bachelor’s degree in science education and later earned a master’s degree in counseling psychology. Dean was active in high school sports administration in Alberta, receiving the Alberta Schools' Athletic Association Robert H. Routledge Award of Merit in 1983. In 1998, he became the first supervisor of student services for Holy Spirit Catholic Schools. He has since been involved with several community organizations, including St. Michael’s Health Centre and St. Michael’s Housing Association.
Sister Jacqueline St-Yves, SGM
Sister Jacqueline St-Yves has been a member of the Congregation of the Grey Nuns of Montreal since 1967. She lived in Manitoba for 32 years, where she carried on the work of the Grey Nuns. She came to Quebec in 1996, when she was elected secretary general of the congregation, a position she held for 10 years. She was subsequently elected congregational leader and is at present serving a second mandate of five years in that position. She is especially devoted to dialogue with laypeople.
Margaret L. Mrazek, QC
Marg Mrazek has devoted her professional life to Catholic health care and continues to advocate for it in Alberta. During her time in nursing administration at the Misericordia Community Hospital, she worked alongside some of the Misericordia Sisters before they left Alberta. Marg later became a lawyer and helped navigate the legal transfer of many Catholic hospitals to the Alberta Catholic Health Corporation. A former president of the Progressive Conservative party in Alberta, Marg established many positive relationships with individuals who, through her influence and advocacy, have supported Catholic health care.
Fred Barth has provided 40 years of continuous volunteer service to Catholic healthcare governance since joining the Misericordia Community Hospital Board in 1972. He has contributed countless hours to other boards and committees, and in the 1980s, he helped fundraise $4.5 million for the Misericordia. Fred was also significantly involved in the transfer of Catholic ministries from the founding congregations to lay leadership. He helped establish the Caritas Health Group in 1992 and Covenant Health in 2008.
From his service as a hardworking MLA from Vegreville to his time as premier of Alberta, Ed Stelmach has had a profound effect on faith-based health care in Alberta. He was instrumental in helping craft the faith-based sector’s master agreement with government, and he helped navigate various agreements and legislation as Catholic health care made the transition from the leadership of our founding Sisters to the current structure. Covenant Health was also proud to welcome Ed as a member of its board of directors.