For the Least of My Brethren


For the Least of My Brethren is the story of St. Michael’s Hospital, founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1892 to meet the needs of Toronto’s sick poor. Sustained by the Gospel’s assurance "What you have done for the least of My Brethren you have done for Me," a plucky little group of fewer than twenty people – sisters, doctors, and nurses – located in an old Baptist church, laid the foundations for what would grow into a major urban university teaching hospital.

The book traces the development to 1992 of the first hospital in Toronto under Roman Catholic auspices, and the first Catholic school of nursing in Canada. Within the context of a not-always-friendly political, social, economic, and religious culture, the author has identified the forces – the people, events, struggles, triumphs, and failures – that have shaped St. Michael’s into what it is today.


For the Least of My Brethren chronicles with great precision and detail the hospital's history. It serves as a useful reference on health care and hospital developments for the historical period covered.

Peter Strathy, Canadian Book Review Annual

About the Author

Irene McDonald

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014

Irene McDonald

Irene McDonald enrolled in St. Michael's School of Nursing in 1947, joined the Sisters of St. Joseph a year later, and thereafter was closely associated with St. Michael's for more than thirty years.