Covenant Health
This week's reflection

This week's reflection

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Service Through Christ Award 

The foundations of quality, compassionate care we expect of our health system were laid by risk-taking Catholic Sisters. They responded to the needs of their times, founding hospitals and health services across Alberta. Their legacy of compassionate care is a gift entrusted to us—and a call to action. Covenant Health is proud to own the Sisters’ legacy and challenge, collaborating with others to bring Christ's healing love to the most vulnerable in society.

In 2011, the contributions of the Sisters were commemorated with the Service Through Christ statue on the Alberta Legislature Grounds. To recognize those in our community today who reflect the same selfless acts of service and compassion, Covenant Health established the Service Through Christ Award. This award is given to a person or team, regardless of faith affiliation, who  works tirelessly to carry on the Sisters' legacy. 

2020 Recipients

Elda Barva
Elda Barva is the former administrator at St. Michaels and Martha’s House in Lethbridge. She took on this role following a long nursing career there. She opened Martha’s House under St. Michael’s Housing Authority which became Covenant Living. Elda was paramount in keeping the Martha Retreat Centre in Lethbridge running as a wellness retreat following the Sisters leaving Lethbridge. She remains as an active volunteer there. 

Richard Fraser 
Richard Fraser is major lifelong contributor to Catholic Health Care who has a very clear understanding and respect for Catholic health care, as a healing ministry of the Church that must be preserved. He has worked tirelessly to ensure its interests are protected legally, and that partnerships with various health authorities over the years respect Catholic health care’s identify, purpose and ethical traditions.  

He is a tireless advocate for the role of Catholic health care in the system. Richard sincerely believes in the mission of service, in defending the rights of those that are vulnerable or at the margins and he has consistently demonstrated that during his many years of service to the Covenant and Caritas family. 

Click here to learn more about these two inspiring people.    

2019 Recipient

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 10 years as Director of Mission Services for the Alberta Catholic Health Corporation, and then another four years as Vice President, Organizational Advancement with Caritas Health Group in Edmonton before assuming role as Vice President, Mission, Ethics and Spirituality with Providence Health Care in Vancouver. 

Throughout his career, Tom brought a strong background of 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 thirty years. He continued this work even after his retirement.  

2018 Recipients

Sister Mary Ellen O’Neill
In her six decades of health care, Sister Mary Ellen 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. 
Not only was Sister Mary Ellen a faithful model of caring for the sick, she 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 over their facilities to the Alberta government.
Sister Mary Ellen’s life shows us how service involves both collaboration and fearless advocacy, and above all, always seeing 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. There is much we could reflect on from his five decades of ministry, but this award focuses on his significant contributions to Catholic health care. It was Bishop Henry’s pastoral vision that ensured the Carmelite Sisters’ longstanding 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. Bishop Henry’s service is characterized by infectious energy and stamina.And now his legacy will live on in the compassionate Christ-like care provided to patients and residents in Medicine Hat, Calgary, and beyond. 

2017 Recipients

W. John Brennan
John Brennan, provided wise and astute leadership and service in Alberta to unify and strengthen the Catholic health care ministry in the province. As Board Chair of Caritas Health Group, John’s vision, courage and commitment to Catholic health care was instrumental during a pivotal time when Alberta was moving towards a single health authority and Catholic health ministries across the province faced many challenges. Working within a provincial group of Catholic leaders, John played a critical role in establishing Covenant Health. Under his stewardship, we grew our contribution to the province with the establishment 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 led 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 and families, her 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 across clinical, teaching, administrative, executive, and governance roles, in both Catholic and public health systems. Her commitment to mission and values has shaped her leadership and impact in many senior positions—including CEO of St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon, CEO of the Sisters of Charity (Grey Nuns) of Alberta, as well as 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 Nun’s guiding vision that, “Together, we are summoned to be vibrant and compassionate signs of hope in our broken world.”

2016 Recipients

Sister Nuala Kenny
Sister Nuala Kenny, a member of the Sisters of Charity of Halifax, received her MD from Dalhousie University in 1972 where she later founded the department of bioethics. Sister Nuala has boundless energy, a curious spirit and deep, deep faith. Her questions always lead to discussion about values that help to deepen ethical reflection. She has authored over one hundred 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’s Performance Citation Award. 

2015 Recipient 

Rev. Francis G. Morrisey, O.M.I  
Father 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. Father Morrisey 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.  

2014 Recipient   

Dean Rook  
Dean grew up in Madison, South Dakota. After serving in the United States Navy from 1962-1966, he completed a Bachelor of Science Education and later earned a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology. Dean was active in high school sports administration in Alberta, receiving the ASAA’s 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. 

2013 Recipients

Sister Jacqueline St-Yves, SGM  
Sr. Jacqueline 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, and 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 the creation of a dialogue with laypeople. 

Margaret L. Mrazek, QC  
Marg has devoted her professional life to Catholic health care and continues to advocate for it in Alberta. During her experience 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 PC party in Alberta, Marg established many positive relationships with individuals who, through Marg’s influence and advocacy, have supported Catholic health care. 

2012 Inaugural Recipients

Fred Barth  
Fred has provided 40 years of continuous volunteer service to Catholic healthcare governance since joining the Misericordia Community Hospital Board in 1972. He has served countless hours on 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 both the Caritas Health Group in 1992 and Covenant Health in 2008.   

Ed Stelmach  
From Ed’s service as a hardworking MLA from Vegreville to his time as Premier of Alberta, his support and guidance for faith-based health care has had a profound effect. 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 Sisters’ leadership to the current structure. Covenant Health is also proud to welcome Ed as a new member of the Board of Directors