Our History Shapes Our Future

Back in 1856, Reverend Father Bernard McGauran founded Saint Brigid's Home as a shelter for Irish immigrants, widows and orphans. A few years later, in 1865, Jeffery Hale left money in his will to establish a hospital to care for sick and disabled protestants.

While they were of different faiths, these two men had some very important traits in common; remarkable foresight and a shared vision of compassion and caring.

Our founders' legacy of forward thinking and compassion continued in April 2007 when these esteemed institutions joined forces to become Jeffery Hale – Saint Brigid's.  In uniting, we have created a solid organization that is a positive force in the local health system, especially when it comes to meeting the needs of the English-speaking population.

In April 2015, our institution began a new chapter in its 150-year history by being grouped with the Centre intégré universitaire en santé et services sociaux de la Capitale-Nationale.

History of Jeffery Hale

Jeffery Hale, son of John Hale and Elizabeth Amherst Hale, was born in Quebec in 1803. He was educated in England and was in the Royal Navy for ten years. During that time, inspired by his faith in a God who loves everyone equally, he began to question the morals and British policies of the time. His letters to his mother strongly expressed his distaste for the treatment by the English of Irish Catholics. He denounced the slave trade as an abomination and and was pondering the notion that war is a form of "legalized murder." Disillusioned, he left the Navy and returned to Quebec to assist his father, John Hale, Receiver General of Lower Canada. He did not succeed his father in this position, instead devoting much of his life to charitable works. At a time when English-speakers represented 40% of the population in Quebec City, Jeffery Hale established several primary schools for the underprivileged English class. He also founded Provident Bank and Savings and Free Quebec Chapel Sunday School, whose function was less to catechize the children than it was to educate working adults who had no other day off but Sunday. Today, he is known mainly for founding the Jeffery Hale Hospital, but he also founded Mount Hermon Cemetery. At a time when the Protestant churches were multiplying, he was Anglican evangelical who rallied against the exclusive and closed Anglican church; he wanted to assure that Protestants could be cared for and buried without regard to their particular religious affiliation. He died in England November 13, 1864. (Louisa Blair). From the site of the Société historique de Québec: Calendrier des vues anciennes de Québec, November 2014.

To learn more about Jeffery Hale, the philanthropist:

History of Saint Brigid’s Home

Father Bernard McGauran was born in Sligo, in the western province of Connacht, Ireland, on August 14, 1821. In the 1830’s, he immigrated to Quebec City with his father and mother and perhaps a brother. Like many Quebec Irish, he went to the college at Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière. He completed his studies at the Séminaire de Québec and was ordained in 1846 at the age of 35. One year later, he was sent to Grosse Ile to be in charge of the priests who were sent as chaplains to the sick and dying at this quarantine station that would see the arrival and death of thousands. He himself fell sick with typhus, returned to Quebec, recovered, and then went back to the island. In 1856, he succeeded Father James Nelligan at Saint Patrick's Church. He was able to continue the work of his predecessors, and almost right away saw to the opening of Saint Brigid’s Home to care for destitute Irish elderly, widows and orphans. He died in Goderich, Ontario, in 1882 and is buried in St. Patrick Cemetery, Sillery, in the family plot.  

To learn more about the history of Saint Brigid's Home and Father Bernard McGauran:

If you or a member of your family lived at Saint Brigid's when it was an orphanage and you would like us to search the records for you for confirmation, please use our contact us form. In the drop down menu in the DEPARTMENT box, please put OTHER. In the MESSAGE box, please provide as much information as you can, such as the person's first and last name at birth, date of birth, and the approximate year(s) that the person may have lived at Saint Brigid's.  We will search our files and book of admissions and departures that dates back to the early 1900's.  Please allow five to 10 working days for a response.

History of Jeffery Hale Community Services

Jeffery Hale Community Services in English, as it is called today, was actually founded in 1991 as Holland Centre.  Today, this Jeffery Hale program provides CLSC-type services to Quebec City's English-speaking community.

To learn more about the history of Jeffery Hale Community Services, please open a PDF version of a booklet entitled "I Dream - The Holland Centre Experience."

We're ready for the future

Always guided by our founders' values, Jeffery Hale – Saint Brigid's is well positioned to move into the future.   We will continue to strive to meet the ever-changing needs of those we serve, and the English-speaking community in particular.