1905 to the present
In the summer of 1903 Father Bernard Murray, pastor of St. Bernard Parish in the Englewood area of Chicago, with permission from Archbishop James Edward Quigley, invited the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph of Kingston, Ontario, to open a hospital in his parish. Archbishop Charles Gauthier of Kingston gave his permission for seven sisters, Sisters Anne Hopkins, Mary of the Sacred Heart (Catherine Leahy), Elizabeth Norris, Gertrude Leahy, Helen Jarrell, Mary Anne Blaney and Sarah Farrell, to open this needed hospital. They left Kingston on November 21, 1903.Funds were raised and, after set backs including a fire which destroyed the Sisters’ convent, St. Bernard Hospital opened on November 21, 1905.
Over the years St. Bernard Hospital was affected by the economic and demographic changes in their neighbourhood. The RHSJs have remained committed to serving the community, living out their mission of compassionate care to the most needy and the hospital has continued to expand to serve the changing needs of the community.
The Englewood area around St. Bernard Hospital had deteriorated with the upkeep of houses poor and the shells of homes destroyed by fire left standing. The City of Chicago levelled some of these buildings and the C.E.O. of St. Bernard Hospital envisioned new affordable single-family homes on these empty lots. St. Bernard Housing Development Corporation was formed and in partnership with civic and private agencies 90 single-family homes were built. These homes, known as Bernard Place, are part of a larger New Englewood Crossings plan, which will provide over 120 affordable single-family residences, set along tree-lined streets.
St. Bernard Hospital continues to respond to the needs of its community. In addition to the modern medical facilities housed in the Hospital, St. Bernard’s also provides medical care in the community through its Pediatric Mobile Health Unit, provides infant immunization, dental care for children and offers free mammograms to uninsured women. It is sponsored by Catholic Health International.