Grey skies and rainy weather failed to dampen the spirits of the 350 people who turned up at Scarborough’s St. Rose of Lima Church, June 18 to honor outgoing Rosalie Hall executive director Sister Therese Bonneville.
The ceremony included a thanksgiving Mass celebrated by Bishop John Knight of Toronto.
Sister Therese departs following her election as Superior General of the Misericordia Sisters of Montreal. During her 11 years as executive director of Rosalie Hall, Sister Therese was instrumental in overseeing the agency’s transition from a small residential maternity home to the active support centre for single pregnant women it is today.
Serving a need in the community for a Catholic, pro-life outreach to struggling women, Rosalie Hall has over its 40 years of existence, become a well known and respected institution in Scarborough and across Ontario. Sister Therese has played a prominent role in building this well-deserved reputation.
It was under Sister Therese that the range of supports available expanded to include an outreach to the community at large. Services now include a high school program for clients supported by a child development centre, an outreach program in five area high schools, pre- and post- natal care, counseling and medical support as well as pastoral and volunteer programs.
To accommodate the needed space and resources for the new network of services, Sister Therese presided over a comprehensive fundraising campaign in 1988 which raised more than $3.7 million.
This provided the means to double the size of the facility. According to the new executive director Sister Margaret Laffey, any future expansion of services has been jeopardized by a 25 per cent reduction in funding as part of Ontario government cutbacks.
Even after her retirement as executive director in 1992, Sister Therese remained active in the Rosalie Hall community. As a volunteer, she became Executive Director of the new fundraising organization, the Rosalie Hall Foundation.
In her new post as Superior General Misericordia Sisters, Sister Therese becomes the President of the Board of Directors of Rosalie Hall.
It is this tremendous level of leadership that Sister Laffey believes has been the inspiration that bas both nurtured and sustained the mission of Rosalie Hall.
Laffey said Sister Therese’s influence will be felt for years to come.