Toronto

Susan Moran, nun who co-founded Out of the Cold program, dead at 78

Sister Susan Moran, the Toronto nun known for co-founding the Out of the Cold shelter program for homeless people, died on Sunday. She was 78.

'Very feisty' advocate for street people was a member of the Order of Canada

Sister Susan Moran, pictured here in 2004, was known as an advocate for homeless people. (CBC News)

Sister Susan Moran, the Toronto nun known for founding the Out of the Cold shelters for homeless people, died on Sunday.

She was 78. 

The Out of the Cold emergency shelters started in just a few Toronto church basements in 1987. They're now offered at 21 locations across the city, including synagogues and mosques.

Moran was known as a tireless advocate for some of Toronto's least fortunate residents. She was made a member of the Order of Canada in 2006.

"She was always out there, she was always at the Out of the Cold programs, she was always talking to people on the sidewalk, and she knew everybody by name," said Cathy Crowe, a street nurse and visiting professor at Ryerson University who worked with Moran.

"She had a big, big smile. She was a lovely, lovely, sweet, kind woman," Crowe said. "But very feisty."

'Her life's mission'

Moran was a member of Our Lady's Missionaries, whose website describes her motivation as: "Becoming one with God's poor and homeless."

"It was her life's mission, really, to work on behalf of street people," Sister Frances Brady of Our Lady's Missionaries said in an interview. "People would say that it was because of her enthusiasm that they were convinced to have an Out of the Cold program in their church."

Sister Frances Brady of Our Lady's Missionaries said Sister Susan Moran was saddened that short-term shelter programs are needed at all. (CBC News)

Even so, Brady said Moran was saddened that the shelter programs were so in-demand.

"I think she saw that as a long-term goal, that there wouldn't be as much need for shelters for people to stay in one night at a time, but that there would be more adequate housing for the people that needed it," said Brady.

A mass for Moran will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 22, at Scarborough Mission chapel.

With files from Adrian Cheung