Earlier this month, Our Lady of Victory Hospital celebrated the 125th anniversary of Founding of the Congregation of their sponsoring organization – the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother. The local celebration was held on August 6 because this was the exact date in 1995 when Ministry Health Care completed the affiliation agreement with OLVH, bringing them into the Ministry Health Care System.
Employees enjoyed a picnic and also celebrated the 60th jubilee of Sister Pat Belongia. The jubilee marks the anniversary that a sister takes her vows to her order. As a surprise during the event, employees, board members, and medical staff raised more than $2,000 to donate in Sister Pat's name to Agape, an inner-city Milwaukee program that the Sisters sponsor.
History of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother:
The congregation was founded on February 16, 1883. That date commemorates the visit the order's founder Mother Frances Streitel went to Rome to seek recognition for the new congregation
Amalia Frances Rose was born on November 24, 1844 in Mellrichstadt, Germany
After fifteen years of service with the Carmelites she experienced a revelation to unite the active and the contemplative life and left the order and waited for an opportunity to fulfill her vocation at the home of her parents. On February 16, 1883 she traveled to Rome to begin the foundation for the new order known as the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother and this is commonly regarded as the beginning date for the congregation.
In 1888 two sisters were sent to the United States to beg for alms to help support the work of the growing community and within a year were asked to assume responsibility for a small hospital in Wichita, Kansas. St. Francis Hospital was established in 1889 and marked the beginning of Via Christi Health System. Providing health care services to those in need has been a hallmark of the work of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother since that time.
By 1893 the sisters had established four hospitals in Wisconsin in Marshfield, Oshkosh, Rhinelander, and Tomahawk and these hospitals were the beginning of Ministry Health Care.
In 1895 sisters began working in New Jersey with the founding of St. Francis Health Resort in Denville. Ultimately St. Clare Hospital was founded and has been a part of the congregation's health care ministry until recently.
In 1926 the sisters opened St. John Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma and over the years their work there has grown to become St. John Health System.
Marian Health System (SSM US Health System) was founded in 1989 as a not-for-profit Catholic health care system sponsored by the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother. By combining a highly-decentralized structure with experienced leadership, Marian empowers each of the three regional systems to address local health care issues.
The mission of Marian Health System is to serve as the vehicle through which we exercise responsible stewardship for our corporate health ministries and support the regional healthcare systems in witnessing to the healing ministry of Jesus.
In achieving our mission, our decisions will be guided by the following core values:
- Vision. As we help to fashion a compassionate and just society through our actions and words.
- Justice. As we confront, address and help correct conditions of human oppression.
- Wisdom. As we continue to discern ways to steward our resources while caring for the earth.
- Community. As we work collaboratively for the common good and promote unity and reconciliation in all our relationships.
In 2006 Marian Health System had combined total operating revenues of $3.1 billion. The system provided $91.5 million in charity care, $95 million in unreimbursed Medicaid shortfall, and $49 million in education, research and other community benefit serving a total of 1,047,000 persons.
The Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother continue their work in many other parts of the world including Italy, Germany, Austria, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Grenada, St. Lucia, Trinidad, and Tanzania, Africa where there most recent efforts began in 2006.
The cause for beatification of Mother Frances Streitel began in 1936 and with the documentation of a miracle at Mercy Hospital in Oshkosh, the cause is under review by the Holy See and the sisters are awaiting word.
Throughout the remainder of 2008 and early 2009 the congregation will be celebrating the 125th anniversary with a number of activities including local celebrations at each location where they continue to provide services. Each month the sisters will have a special prayer and recognition focus that reminds them of their founding principles and highlights the work they are carrying on today in the United States and around the world.