About the Alumni

Preserving the stories and connections of the Holy Cross Hospital School of Nursing

The organization began on May 7, 1931 when eighty-five Holy Cross graduates met in the lecture hall to form an association. Fees were set at 50 cents.

During the Depression years, the membership fee of 50 cents was discontinued and an appeal was forwarded to Sister Superior asking for job preference to be given to Holy Cross graduates. Fifty dollars was given to the Sisters to help to defray the graduation expenses.

A pattern of activities for future years was soon established. The membership would assist the students of their School, would respond to public appeals that pertained to the health field, would work with the Sisters to improve hospital care and would foster fellowship and loyalty among graduates of the Holy Cross.

In 1954, a $100 bursary was awarded to an alumnus for use on postgraduate studies. The following year, the amount of such bursaries was increased to $250, and a scholarship award fund was established in 1957 to assist members with further studies.

Tangible gifts of equipment and furnishings were made to the hospital as well. To celebrate the hospital’s Golden Jubilee in 1941, a homecoming was arranged for all graduates, and a sterling silver tea and coffee service with tray was presented to the hospital. The Alumni was often featured on the society pages of local newspapers as members diligently raised funds for its many activities. Teas, home bake sales, garden parties, raffles, dressed doll sales, bingos, bridge parties, fashion shows, variety shows – all manner of ladylike schemes were explored in a search for money to carry out the Alumni’s good works.

In the fall of 1957, the Golden Jubilee of the School, graduates from across Canada and the U.S. gathered for another happy reunion, and a tour of the new nurses’ residence, which had opened in August. Alumni member Elsie McQuade (Black 1910), member of the first class, and Maureen Mooney, a 1957 grad, were chosen to unveil the plaque marking the opening of the residence. Following the reunion, almost $6,000 was donated for furnishing the reception lounge in the residence.

In the 1960’s, the Alumni helped to alleviate a shortage of nurses by sponsoring refresher courses at the hospital so that older grads could “get a retread” and return to active nursing.

Support and encouragement of the students continued with donations of books to the library and binding of current nursing journals, a project of the ’60s and ’70s. Repairs were made to the tennis courts. At the suggestion of the School and students, the annual grad banquets were discontinued in the mid- ’60s.

Another reunion was held in the fall of 1967-a 60th anniversary celebration in Canada’s Centennial year. A highlight of that occasion was the Alumni’s presentation of the massive Celtic cross which is a feature of the new hospital, completed later that year. Made of pre-cast concrete, the cross weighs 1,160 pounds and had to be lifted 180 feet into the air by helicopter so that it could be bolted into place high on the side of the hospital.

In 1969, the Alumni was disturbed to receive a letter from the Grey Nuns telling of the proposed sale of their hospital to the Province. Sister Fernande Dussault, Provincial Supervisor of the Grey Nuns, expressed their best thanks and warmest appreciation to all members. The Alumni was to miss its enduring ties with the Sisters of Charity.

Another most successful reunion, which attracted nearly one thousand graduates and Sisters, was held in 1977. Surplus funds from the festivities, amounting to $2,000, were donated to the hospital for purchase of pictures for the wards.

Members continued to enjoy their association with the student nurses until the closure of the School in 1979. A graduates’ luncheon was given for the final class and, at the end of 1979 exercises, the Alumni’s medal for Highest Standing of Theory was awarded for the last time.

Although the Holy Cross Hospital School of Nursing is a part of history now, its Alumni organization continues to work for the improvement of nursing in the Province. A recent generous donation by the family of Melitta Fletcher (Berg 1910), one of the first six students at the hospital, has enabled the association to continue its practice of awarding financial assistance to members wishing to continue their educations.

Collection of the Archives of the School of Nursing began with donations from various members over the years. Photos, artifacts and memorabilia were preserved in the Blue Room in the Grey Nuns Building, that was home of the organization, while papers and records of historical significance have been donated to both the Glenbow Archives and the University of Calgary’s Rare Books and Special Collections.

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the School in 1982, its history Nuns and Nightingales, was published as a final, loving tribute to the School and to the Grey Nuns who founded it.

Our Founding Objectives

  • The promotion of unity, loyalty and good feeling between Alumni members and student nurses.
  • The advancement of the interests and upholding the standards of the profession of nursing.
  • The keeping in touch with our Alma Mater for our mutual benefit.

Holy Cross Hospital: 105 years of nursing history

Holy Cross Hospital: Class of 1953

Nuns and Nightingales

The Holy Cross Nurses Alumnae book “Nuns and Nightingales”  is available to read online  courtesy of the Great Canadian Catholic Hospital History Project documenting “the legacy and contributions of the Congregations of Religious Women in Canada, their mission in health care and the founding and operation of Catholic hospitals.” Thank you to the archives of Sœurs de la Charité de Montréal “Sœurs Grises” | The Sisters of Charity of Montreal “Grey Nuns”

E. Moseson (Billsten 1929) Presents Painting on Behalf of the 1929 Class to Sr. L. Leclerc, E. Moseson, T. Brown (Wannop 1938).

E.McQuade (Black 1910); C. MacDonald (Sahara 1946) Pour Tea, 1957.

Celtic Cross airlifted into position, 1967.