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gsmithSister Gwen Smith, CSJ (formerly Sister James Francis) died peacefully at the Sisters of St. Joseph Residence, 2 O’Connor Drive, Toronto, Ontario on March 23, 2024 in the 72nd year of her religious life.

She is predeceased by her parents, James Henry and Rita (née O’Halloran) Smith. She will be sadly missed by her cousins, friends, colleagues and by her Sisters in Community.

Born and raised in the east end of Toronto, Sister Gwen was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph both at elementary and high school. She was a high school graduate and former teacher of St. Joseph’s College School in Toronto. She joined the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto in 1951 and following first profession, Sister Gwen began a high school teaching career that continued for the next 24 years. Her work with young people included active involvement with Catholic Youth Corps in Toronto. Her ministry in parish work in British Columbia highlighted social justice issues that transitioned into a more active role as a social justice advocate within the congregation.

As a founding ministry director for Fontbonne Ministries, she nurtured community at Mustard Seed from the beginning, starting the community garden, the community kitchen, Psalm and Soup, and Followers of Jesus. She supported volunteers and building relationships with agencies and businesses in the area.

Sister Gwen is remembered as a Sister of St. Joseph who cared for the poor and all of creation. She died peacefully at the Sisters of St. Joseph Residence where she had been receiving excellent nursing care and attention.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Fontbonne Ministries.

Out of deep respect for those who have cared for these lands since time immemorial, we are committed to tread lightly on the land, protect water as sacred, and affirm our desire for right relations with all Indigenous Peoples. - From our CSJ Land Acknowledgement

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