SCN Archivist Kathy Hertel-Baker shares the following about Flaget Memorial Hospital:
In 1945 efforts were begun to build a much needed hospital in Bardstown. A citizens group, including Msgr. James H. Willett and Dr. Keith Crume worked with Mother Ann Sebastian and her Council to plan a new facility. At that time, Bardstown residents had to travel 33 miles to Louisville for hospital services. After many delays, ground was broken on September 12, 1949, on property owned by the SCNs across from St. Joseph’s Cathedral. Construction was completed in January 1951, and the hospital was named after Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget.
The building was blessed on January 7th and officially opened on January 8th, although the first patients arrived the night before – 5 babies were born between 6:30pm on January 7th and 6:30am on January 8th. Mary Cecil was the first baby born in the hospital at 6:52pm on the 7th, and Benedict Joseph and John Sebastian Greenwell (named after Bishop Flaget and Mother Ann Sebastian) were the first twins born in the hospital at 11:40 and 11:45pm on the 7th. Sister Bridgid Garvey was the first administrator and along with five other SCNs formed the first staff of Sisters at the hospital.
A new wing was completed in 1974, including space for a new surgical suite and other improvements. In 1985, Flaget Memorial Hospital became part of the new Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Health Corporation (SCNHS) and in 1991, a second addition and renovations were completed, including a new imagining services department, a new lab, and the county’s first ICU.
On September 1, 1997, Flaget Hospital joined Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) when SCNHS officially became part of CHI.
Responding to the needs of the times, the hospital opened a greatly expanded facility at its current location in 2005. Its newest medical building, completed in 2013, is named after the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, who founded the hospital in 1951.
(Featured image at the top of the story shows Mother Bertrand Crimmins breaking ground for new hospital, September 12, 1949.)