Remembering Sister Rosemarie Kugel, a mission champion who always led from the heart

News / General

We regret to announce that Sister Rosemarie Kugel, Religious Hospitaller of Saint Joseph (RHSJ) of the Hotel Dieu Hospital, died peacefully on Tuesday, November 10.  She passed away at Providence Motherhouse here in Kingston.

Many staff, volunteers, physicians, RHSJ Associates and alumnae of the HDH St. Joseph’s School of Nursing will recall Sister Kugel with fondness.

Until 2008, she served as President of the RHSJ Health System, with an office located on Johnson Street near HDH.  In this leadership role she worked to ensure that RHSJ-run hospitals and programs across North America remained rooted in the values of justice, compassion and respect for the dignity of others, especially people who are needy, sick and vulnerable. She was a visionary presence in our local health care system, a strong supporter of the model that eventually positioned HDH as the academic ambulatory care centre in the region.

Warm, tenacious, dedicated

Sister Kugel was deeply respected for her warmth, tenacity and dedication to the Catholic health ministry.  She fully modelled the HDH Mission of making visible the compassionate healing presence of God to all persons, whether vulnerable patients or anxious families or homeless, hungry and disadvantaged people in our community.  She never lost the opportunity—even in the most challenging circumstances—to remind all HDH staff of their role in actively living the Mission.  Towards that end, she once encouragingly noted that “God doesn’t choose the qualified.  He qualifies those He chooses.”

With her petite frame and genuine smile, Sister Kugel was a recognizable and regular presence until the early 2000s at HDH.  She lived at the Sisters’ residence at 202 Johnson Street for many years and regularly helped at HDH Food Blitzes, attended Mass in our Chapel and participated in special services and events within the hospital.  During the ice storm of 1998, she was a steady and comforting presence to those seeking support and warmth within our walls. 

For many decades, problem-solving at HDH was often simplified by asking, “What would Sister Kugel do?”  The answer—respond with loving compassion—invariably opened the way to a solution.  As we remember Sister Kugel today and celebrate the gift of her life, may each of us take a moment to honour her legacy by reaching out with loving compassion to someone in our midst.

The Canadian flag at HDH, lowered for Remembrance Day o November 11, will remain lowered to half-mast in her honour until Friday, November 13.

Dr. David Pichora
President & CEO