Welcome by Sister Judy Raley, SCN
In the name of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, it is my pleasure to welcome all of you on this special occasion celebrating 60 years of health care ministry through Flaget Memorial Hospital.
We are happy to have with us Archbishop Kurtz, the presider for today’s liturgy, members of the Hospital Council for Flaget, Members of the Board and administration of St. Joseph Health System, Administration and staff of Flaget, members of the clergy and ministerial association, leaders of the Bardstown/ Nelson County civic community, friends and supporters of Flaget Hospital and Sisters of Charity of Nazareth who reside here on the campus and the surrounding areas.
It seems fitting that we gather here in this Church at Nazareth built by Catherine Spalding, our founder, whose heart went out to the sick of her day and whose legacy is carried on at Flaget.
From our beginnings in a log cabin at St. Thomas in 1812, the Sisters of Charity have had a long commitment to meeting the health care needs of the people of Bardstown and the surrounding community. During the cholera epidemic of 1832 the Sisters closed Nazareth Academy here on this campus and turned it into a hospital. They also went to the homes to care for the sick.
So in 1946 when plans were being developed for a hospital, it seemed natural for the leaders of the Bardstown community to turn to the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. Both groups contributed funds to build the first Flaget Hospital, which opened on January 7, 1951 with a capacity for 23 patients and 12 bassinets.
Father Tom Clark, who is here with us today, was an altar server at the first Mass at the hospital. The medical staff consisted of 8 members: one surgeon and seven general practice physicians. Sister Bridget Garvey was the first administrator, who with five other Sisters, formed the Sister Staff.
We have seen the growth of Flaget over the years in response to the expanding health needs of the community which led to the building of a new hospital that is twice the size of the old facility. Flaget is part of the St. Joseph Health System, a network of facilities across Kentucky as part of Catholic Health Initiatives.
Rooted in the healing ministry of Jesus as portrayed in the healing of the paralytic in today’s Gospel, Flaget Hospital stands as a living witness to the healing presence of Christ as it continues to serve this community guided by its core values of reverence, integrity, compassion and excellence.
We rejoice and give thanks and ask for God’s continued guidance on this vital ministry and invite you to participate in the liturgy as outlined in the program. Let us begin with joyful song.