The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio marked its 55th anniversary on July 9 with a Spirit Week celebration for associates and a weeklong schedule of activities for physicians, volunteers, patients
Originally known as Santa Rosas Children’s Hospital, it opened as the regions first medical facility fully dedicated to caring for children, according to a news release. The hospitals mission is still the same, and the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word who began that mission were honored on the anniversary day for their years of dedication and service.
I was a young nursing student in 1959 when the first childrens hospital opened, Sister Sarah Lennon, CCVI, said in the release. I have been privileged to help the Sisters maintain their connection to what is now the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio and the CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System.
The sisters play a vital role today in keeping the ministry at the forefront of childrens healthcare. Many serve in volunteer and chaplaincy roles, visit with children and families, and assist with a variety of outreach services.
Their commitment was remembered in a dedication ceremony as part of the 55-year celebration. The late Sister Mary Aidan Handibode, a Sister of Charity of the Incarnate Word and a registered nurse who worked in the clinics for 50 consecutive years, was honored with a plaque at the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. Handibode, who died in 2012, served the community from 1949 to 1999.
The mission of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word began in 1869, when three young French nuns left Galveston at the behest of Claude Marie Dubuis, then bishop of Texas, who asked them to care for the sick and infirm. The group founded two orphanages after four children came into their care in 1874. Then, they established the areas first pediatric ward in 1918. It was their dream to open a childrens hospital, which they did in 1959.