Born in Dunkirk, Marie Switalski moved to Cheektowaga in 1933. When Marie was working in the Cheektowaga Town Supervisor’s Office, she happened to meet Father Justin Figas. This turned out to be a fruitful encounter.
Fr. Justin felt an energetic group of volunteers could help raise the funds needed to build an intercommunity hospital, and that Marie was just the person to lead it.
Thus the St. Joseph Ladies Guild was formed. Their countless fundraisers helped to make Fr. Justin’s dream of an intercommunity hospital a reality. The Guild hosted charity balls, bake sales and bazaars, which benefited the hospital chapel, auditorium and emergency department, among other areas.
Marie remembers Fr. Justin fondly. “He was an extremely kind and encouraging man who had great faith that the Guild could raise the funds needed to see St. Joe’s get built,” Marie said.
The Ladies Guild continued their volunteerism for an extraordinary 66 years, and Sisters Hospital, St. Joseph Campus has benefited tremendously from their service. When the group disbanded in 2012, their generosity totaled $1,010,352. In September, Sisters Hospital Foundation honored the Guild with the Caritas Award at the Annual Donor Reception for so lovingly gifting their talents.