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Ellen Caldwell, CSJP (1917-2018)

A clear, thoughtful and prayerful woman, Sister Ellen Caldwell, CSJP (Sister Edna) died April 5, 2018 in Bellevue, WA. The daughter of James and Alice Caldwell, Ellen was born on November 16, 1917 in Clonkeefy, Ireland.

In 1936, Sister Ellen sailed to the U.S. with three other postulants to enter the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace novitiate in Bellingham, Washington. She remembered that they were all seasick on the nine-day ocean voyage, but had a grand time, laughing and joking, on the train to distant Washington state. After the prayer, study and hard work of the novitiate, Sister Ellen trained as a laboratory technologist at St. Joseph Hospital, Bellingham, later earning an M.A. in hospital administration.

Sent to administer PeaceHealth Ketchikan General Hospital in 1958, Sister Ellen had the challenge of convincing the mayor and community leaders that it was essential to fund a solid new hospital to replace the old wooden buildings that could no longer be certified. She succeeded, and earned the admiration of many. One member of the hospital board, Walt Shuham, said that there was never a smarter administrator than Sister Ellen. In money decisions, he said, she always had the right answer.

After her years in Ketchikan, Sister Ellen was missioned as Assistant Administrator to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Hospital, Bellingham, where she ministered for more than 30 years, working closely for much of that time with Sister Catherine McInnes, Administrator of the hospital.

During her retirement years in Bellingham, Sister Ellen served as a library assistant, visited at the Senior Center and enjoyed gardening. In 2007 she moved to St. Mary-on-the-Lake in Bellevue and participated in the prayer ministry of the retired Sisters. Her quiet presence has been a blessing to all.

Ellen Caldwell, CSJP (1917-2018)

"The prophet does not compel, but asks people to see themselves, the world, and God in a new way."

Dorothy Vidulich, CSJP