Sr. Bonnie MacLellan – 2018–2019 Saint Paul University Alumna of the Year

Saint Paul University is pleased to announce that the 2018–2019 Alumna of the Year award will be presented to Sr. Bonnie MacLellan CSJ. Sr. MacLellan received her Ph.D. in Canon Law from Saint Paul University in the spring of 2018, at which time she was also awarded the Governor General’s Academic Medal (Gold). She had graduated from Saint Paul University with her master’s degree in Canon Law and her licentiate in Canon Law in 2013. Sr. Bonnie is a respected leader in the field of Catholic health care in Canada. She is currently fulfilling her fourth mandate as General Superior of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie.

Sr. Bonnie has dedicated almost 50 years of her life to health care ministry and Church ministry. After graduating from the Sudbury Regional School of Nursing in 1972, she provided direct care and nursing management leadership in various areas, such as occupational health, critical care, health care administration and public health. Moving beyond the boundaries of the discipline of nursing, Sr. Bonnie expanded the scope of her service into the areas of human and organizational development.

Sr. Bonnie’s clinical and academic preparation led to her becoming an inspirational leader in Catholic health care ministry. She was given the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018 for her contribution to Catholic health care ministry, her mentorship of many leaders in the health care field, and her contribution in the numerous communities where she served across Ontario. In her various leadership roles at the local, provincial and national levels, Sr. Bonnie has consistently advocated for respect for Catholic values in services provided to the vulnerable, the poor, the aging and the dying.

Sr. Bonnie’s master’s thesis and her Ph.D. dissertation have both made major contributions to the development of knowledge and understanding of canonical sponsorship in health care ministry. Her work has been particularly helpful in a contemporary social and political environment where religious institutes are transferring the governance and management of their ministries to lay boards and lay senior leadership teams, and where governments are questioning whether faith-based care should continue to be supported in an increasingly secular society.

Sr. Bonnie is also the director of the Centre for Canonical Services of the Faculty of Canon Law at Saint Paul University. She provides expert canonical counsel to members of the Church, bishops and religious superiors confronted with issues relating to financial stability, downsizing and other pressing challenges. As a canon lawyer, Sr. Bonnie diligently serves the Church by responding to the canonical needs of dioceses and religious institutes for canonical consultations and canonical education.

Sr. Bonnie MacLellan has made outstanding contributions in her field and has helped guide transformation within both the Church and society in general. She is an admirable example of a passionate individual who is engaged and dedicated to making the world a better, more humane place. Please join us in congratulating Sr. Bonnie MacLellan on this well-deserved award.

Francis G. Morrisey, OMI  

''It was with great pleasure that I learned of Sr. Bonnie MacLellan’s designation as Alumna of the Year at Saint Paul University for 2018–2019.

Throughout her life, she has marked the health care scene in Ontario, in areas such as occupational health, critical care, health care administration and public health.

She was awarded the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018 for her contribution to Catholic health care ministry, especially through the mentorship of many leaders in the health care field.

She obtained a Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems, or theories of management and leadership. Later, she studied Canon Law at Saint Paul University, obtaining a doctorate in Canon Law; her dissertation, on canonical sponsorship of Catholic health care in Ontario, won her the Governor General’s medal for excellence. She was also instrumental in the foundation of the Centre for Canonical Services at Saint Paul University.

She has assumed numerous leadership roles with Catholic Health Sponsors of Ontario, as well as with Emmanuel Care (formerly the Catholic Health Ministry of Saskatchewan).

A Sister of St. Joseph, Sr. Bonnie has served in many leadership roles. She is currently the General Superior of her community, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie, and is presently in her fourth term as elected leader of the community (having done eight years before her studies at Saint Paul University, and then being elected for a total of eight more years). A gifted speaker, she is regularly invited to speak to health care providers.

Saint Paul University is truly honoured to be able to count Sr. Bonnie among its alumni and alumnae.''

Francis G. Morrisey, OMI

Monsignor John A. Renken  

''Sr. Bonnie MacLellan CSJ is a most worthy recipient of the 2018–2019 SPU Alumna of the Year award. She has generously dedicated her entire life to service of the community. She has consistently advocated providing quality health care, especially for the most vulnerable and needy, the outcast and the marginal. She is a proven and compassionate leader in her religious community, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie. She has also excelled in her academic pursuits. With obvious distinction, she defended her Canon Law doctorate at SPU, entitled “Canonical Sponsorship of Catholic Health Care in the Province of Ontario, Canada: How to Retain Catholic Organizational Identity While Delivering Quality Health Care.” Her generosity, enthusiasm and academic excellence are also seen in her willingness to serve as an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Canon Law. We are delighted to warmly congratulate her, the 2018–2019 SPU Alumna of the Year.''

John Renken
Dean, Faculty of Canon Law



Established in 1993, the Alumnus of the Year Award acknowledges the outstanding achievements and accomplishments of Saint Paul University Alumni. The Award recognizes alumni who have achieved distinction through their exceptional contribution to our community and society. They are individuals with values that correspond with the mission of Saint Paul University: Contributing creatively to the humanization of society.


Past Alumni of the Year 

2017 / 2018

Tanya Zayed, M. A. Conflict Studies, '08
Consultant and activist on child protection

2016 / 2017

The Most Reverend Donald Bolen, B. Theology, '78
Archbishop of Regina

2015 / 2016

Jean La Rose, B. Social Communication, '78
CEO, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN)

2014 / 2015

Hazel Markwell, Ph.D Theology, '65
Director, Centre for Clinical Ethics

2013 / 2014

Gil Remillard, B. Philosophy '65
Founding Chairman, International Economic Forum of the Americas

2012 / 2013

Françoise Lagacé, B. Philosophy ’65
Pastoral facilitator, Archdiocese of Gatineau

Gilles Lagacé, B. Philosophy '65, B. Theology '70, M.A. Mission Studies '04
Labour Relations Advisor (Retired)

Isabelle Lagacé, Certificate in Social Communications '97
Directorate of Communications and Corporate Affairs, Cégep de l'Outaouais

2011 / 2012

Monsignor André Drouin, P.H., B. Philosophy '58, M.A. Pastoral Science '79
Pastor, Saint Anne’s Parish, Ottawa (Deceased)

2010 / 2011

Reverend Isaac-C. Martinez-Chuquizana, M.S.A., M.A. in Mission Studies '93
Animator General, Missionaries of the Holy Apostles

2009 / 2010

Dr. Elisabeth Jeannine Lacelle, B. Theology '67, Theology Licence '67
Professor Emeritus, Saint Paul University

2008 / 2009

His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, o.m.i., M.A. Theology '71
Archbishop of Chicago (Deceased)

2007 / 2008

Alain Gourd, B.Philosophy '66, M.A. Philosophy '68
Founder, President and CEO of BCE Media (Deceased)

2006 / 2007

Lieutenant-Colonel the Reverend Canon Michelle Staples, B.Theology '95, M.A. Theology '96
Command Chaplain for the Royal Canadian Navy

2005 / 2006

The Most Reverend Roger Ébacher, Theology Licence '61
Archbishop Emeritus, Archdiocese of Gatineau

2004 / 2005 

Michel Brazeau, B.Theology '87
Senior Director, Canadian School of Public Service

2003 / 2004

Sister Marie-Paule Couturier, f.m.a., M. Canon Law '91, Licence Canon Law '91
Vice-Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth (retired)

2002 / 2003

Monsignor Patrick Powers, P.H., B. Theology '87
General Secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

2001 / 2002

Kirby Kranabetter, M.A. Pastoral Studies '93
Director of Mission, Ethics and Client Relations, Bruyere Continuing Care

2000 / 2001

Pierre Bergeron, B.Theology '70
Editor and Columnist, Le Droit

1999 / 2000

Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J., M. Religious Education '73
Author/Human Rights Activist

1998 / 1999

The Reverend Roger Guindon, o.m.i., Philosophy Licence '43, B.Theology '45, Doctorate Theology '54
Founder, Saint Paul University (Deceased)

1997 / 1998

The Most Reverend Vernon James Weisgerber, B. Philosophy '58, Philosophy Licence '59
Archbishop Emeritus, Archdiocese of Winnipeg

1996 / 1997

Sister Monique Picard, SGM, Certificate in Theology '94
Sisters of Charity Montréal (Grey Nuns)

1995 / 1996

Frances Boire-Carrière, B.Theology '74, Philosophy Licence '76
Director, Human Resources, Bank of Canada

1994 / 1995

The Reverend Doctor Jean Monbourquette, o.m.i., B. Theology '57, Theology Licence '59
Professor, Saint Paul University (deceased)

1993 / 1994

Brother Réjean Gadouas, o.m.i., Theology Certificate '82
Founder of La Manne de l’île and Co-founder of Le Gîte Ami

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