Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

What I Have Seen and Heard (November 9, 2006)

Published November 9, 2006

When Atlanta became a diocese in 1956, Saint Joseph’s Hospital was already more than 75 years old. This institution was already a respected and an important presence for the people of the then-new See City. The Mercy Sisters had already established themselves as generous, dedicated, and kindhearted caregivers in the medical profession. There were relatively few Catholics in Atlanta when Saint Joseph’s Hospital was founded in 1880, but there were many sick people in need of medical attention and that was enough for the Sisters of Mercy. As they went about their humble service to the sick, the sisters and all of their colleagues established an enviable record of competence and compassion. This has been their legacy for 125 years, and we are a better community for their presence.

Catholic health care has changed significantly in the past 125 years—and that is an understatement! When the Mercy Sisters first founded Saint Joseph’s Hospital, the sisters themselves were engaged in most of the hands-on operations of the medical facilities—they were nurses, administrators and support staff.

Today Saint Joseph’s Hospital, like most other medical facilities, is a part of a large corporate structure with many people engaged in the operations who are neither members of the Sisters of Mercy or even Catholics themselves. But these wonderful men and women share the vision of the Mercy Sisters, and they work to continue the legacy that those pioneer nuns began in 1880.

Saint Joseph continues to provide outstanding health care for all of those who enter that institution and its many satellite offices, care always offered with compassion and competence. Catholic health care is still a vitally important presence in Atlanta because of all those who staff Saint Joseph’s Hospital and the heirs of those intrepid women Religious who founded this institution.

Saint Joseph’s Hospital has embarked upon an ambitious capital campaign, “Creating the Future of Health Care for Atlanta,” to ensure that future care given to those who seek healing at this outstanding institution is professionally state-of-the-art and that the hospital is financially secure. The hospital seeks to raise $60 million not just from Catholic donors but from all those citizens of Atlanta who have come to value, depend upon, and benefit from the expertise of the extraordinary medical staff, hospital personnel, administration and, yes, the Mercy Sisters who continue to lend their vision and their Faith values to Saint Joseph’s Hospital. I am pleased to lend my fervent support to this campaign and to the efforts of all of the lay men and women who work with the Mercy Sisters in every capacity at this outstanding institution.

Over the next several months, I trust you will learn more about the campaign that is now underway at Saint Joseph’s Hospital and that you will give serious consideration to supporting this effort. Saint Joseph is older than our diocese. It serves all of the citizens of this great region, it continues Catholic health care according to the highest standards of the medical scientific world, and it continues the loftiest principles of our Faith in caring for those who are in need of healing. May its great legacy continue for more than another 125 years. Your generosity and support will make that possible for future generations to come.