Webinar: Preserving Catholic Identity in Catholic Health Care: Facing Internal and External Pressures and Looking Forward

16 October 2018 by

Webinar with Sister Bonnie MacLellan (19th September 2018).

This presentation is of the Canadian context but there are similar issues in Australia: more laity involved in Church governance, religious diversity, increasing secularisation, government funding of Catholic health care. Sr Bonnie is clear that Catholic identity is defined by its context so a universal criteria is neither possible nor desirable. She talks about the importance of staff understanding our Catholic identity even if they come from a different perspective. The internal pressures can be Catholic social teaching, Church law and Catholic health ethics. The external pressures include: scarcity of resources, diversity, and the agenda of the funder. The central message is of the importance of ongoing formation to enable people to prophetically continue the healing ministry of Jesus.

A copy of this presentation is available here.

A recording of this 50 minute webinar is now available here.

Ensuring that Catholic health care is identifiable in a postmodern, pluralistic, and secular culture[1] can be a daunting task. The ministry of the Church and Catholic health care has always been contextually driven, and has required negotiation, achieving what at times could be considered a tenuous balance between God’s call and the current political agenda. In light of this, the question this presentation will respond to is “How can Catholic health care in Canada continue into the future, while not abandoning essential beliefs and values?”

[1] See R. Murphy, “Does religion have a place in public life?” CBC Cross Country Checkup, 3 March 2013, (5 March 2017); see also J. Davison, “Are we living in post-religious times?” CBC News 20 March 2013,  (5 March 2017).

Sr Bonnie MacLellan


Sister Bonnie MacLellan is currently serving as the General Superior of The Sisters of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie. She has also served as a registered nurse and a hospital administrator, and recently completed her JCD. Her dissertation topic was “Canonical Sponsorship of Catholic Health Care in the Province of Ontario, Canada: How to Retain Catholic Organizational Identity While Delivering Quality Health Care.”