(Breese, IL) – HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese is celebrating National Catholic Sisters Week March 8-14, 2018. The week is intended to honor the nation’s 47,170 Catholic sisters and all who have gone before – founders of schools and hospitals, artists and activists, leaders and spiritual guides for all walks of life. HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese is celebrating by reflecting on the history of the work of the Catholic Sisters in the hospital.
Over 120 years ago in 1897, the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ took charge after the Parishioners of St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in Breese built the 2½ story brick facility for $18,000 on the nine acres Mrs. Elizabeth Speckman left to the people of Breese to build a hospital.
In 1917, the Poor Handmaids withdrew and the Notre Dame Sisters stepped in during a flu epidemic, but the hospital generally remained vacant until 1921 when the Sisters of Mercy accepted sponsorship and reopened St. Joseph’s Hospital.
In 1960, the Sisters and the Breese Business and Professional Associate formed an advisory council to consider a new hospital. With community support, the new $3.8 million, 103-bed hospital opened in April on land donated by John and George Otke.
Currently, St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese is affiliated with the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis. Over 30 years ago, the official transfer of St. Joseph’s to Hospital Sisters Health Systems (HSHS) began. In January 1986, St. Joseph’s Hospital became an affiliate of HSHS.
“Our Sisters laid the foundation for St. Joseph’s Hospital, founded on the Core Values of Respect, Care, Competence and Joy. Today, we are very blessed and thankful for the opportunity to serve those who choose St. Joseph’s Hospital in honor of the Sisters and all their exceptional accomplishments,” said Chris Klay, President and CEO of HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese. “All of us at St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese strive each and every day to live the Mission of our Hospital Sisters: To reveal and embody Christ's healing love for all people through our high quality Franciscan health care ministry.”
To continue to live out the Franciscan Mission of the Sisters within the hospital and in the community, the Mission Integration team at St. Joseph’s coordinates events each year that benefit those in need. Events include raising money for local food pantries and charities, adopting families, volunteering and much more.
About National Catholic Sisters Week
National Catholic Sisters Week is headquartered at Saint Mary’s University in Minneapolis and supported by a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. The week was launched in 2014 with the goal of connecting young women and Catholic sisters through national and local events. NCSW is an official component of National Women History’s Month, which runs throughout March. The week is coordinated by Site Director Molly Hazelton and celebrated each year from March 8-14. The project encourages and supports events that focus on the richness, diversity and contributions of women religious and that bring young women and sisters together. During NCSW 2017 more than 300 events occurred nationwide, including multiple online events. National Catholic Sisters Week is one of four strands of the National Catholic Sisters Project, a national initiative intended to recognize and celebrate the profound impact of women religious. Learn more about National Catholic Sisters Week at www.nationalcatholicsistersweek.org and follow the campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.