ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF DEDICATED SERVICE AT ST. FRANCIS HOSPITAL IN POUGHKEEPSIE! This was the appreciative cheer of the 500 people attending the Catholic Charities Community Services of Dutchess County Award Ceremony on June 5 in Wappingers Falls, New York. The organization honored the Sisters with the annual Legacy Award for their century of service in the Hudson Valley and St. Francis Hospital (now MidHudson Regional Hospital). The crowd gave Sisters Jean Canora, Helen Hofmann, Rose Jerome Kenlon, Patricia Larkin, Mary McCaffrey, Patricia Nugent, Roberta Smith, and Veronica Wood a warm greeting and profuse praise. In accepting the award for the congregation, S. Roberta noted that our focus has changed from working with the poor and the sick in traditional ways to more relevant ministries for today’s poor — serving them on the streets, in soup kitchens, in hospices and terminally care settings, and with immigrants, yet still working with those who need us the most. Later this month, the Sisters will be honored for their hospital service again when MidHudson Regional sponsors a celebratory lunch and opening of its newly renovated patient floor.
St. Francis Hospital opened its doors to its first official patient on February 17, 1914, less than three months after four Sisters of St. Francis arrived on the property from Hastings with $5.00 among them. That first small hospital in Wilbur Mansion had 40 beds and treated 751 patients that first year. Over the course of the century, the hospital expanded to ten buildings, and St. Francis became the trauma center for five counties with a heliport on the grounds. Sisters say it was accomplished with the help of our amazing God, and under the auspices of our Father, St. Francis. Accolades and God’s abundant blessings to all our Sisters who ministered at St. Francis!