(Sister James Albert)
Sister Joan O’Brien, of French-Canadian and Irish descent, was born in the village L’Assumption, Quebec Province, Canada.
At age 8, she and her 3-year-old sister were sent to the Sisters of Providence orphanage in Montreal after their mother’s death. She entered the religious community as a postulant in 1940 and became a novice in 1941. She was sent to Seattle to be a companion in the infirmary at Mount St. Vincent, and then was a cook at St. Catherine School, Seattle, and at St. Michael School, Olympia, Wash.
After nursing school, she was a nursing supervisor at St. Vincent Hospital, Portland, Ore.; and in Washington at St. Joseph Hospital, Vancouver, Providence Hospital, Everett, St. Peter Hospital, Olympia, and Providence Medical Center, Seattle.
She opened the pastoral care department at Providence Seattle after receiving certification in chaplaincy and providing pastoral care for five months at Providence Everett. Even after she retired from Providence Seattle after nearly 25 years, Sister Joan remained active, riding the bus to visit and assist the vulnerable elderly residents of Vincent House in downtown Seattle, and also at Heritage House. She also assisted the sisters in the infirmary at St. Joseph Residence, Seattle, where she died January 15, 2016.