July 26, 2008

Good Samaritan Bids Farewell to 28 Years of Nuns’ Service

By Brandy Rissmiller, Republican & Herald, Pottsville, Pa.

Jul. 26--It will not be the same without them.

Dorothy Stangl's sentiment was apparent Friday night in the Norman M. Wall Auditorium at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center as about 250 people gathered to honor and say goodbye to the Daughters of Charity.

"They were the best," Stangl, treasurer of the Good Samaritan Auxiliary, said. "They were comforting, wonderful friends who were always there."

The order of nuns who have staffed Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center for 28 years will be leaving in August.

According to REPUBLICAN & Herald archives, the decision was made more than a year ago when the provincial council out of Albany, N.Y., informed them that they would be closing their house in Pottsville at the end of August.

The shrinking population of nuns in the order, the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent DePaul, Albany, N.Y., is the reason why the order's provincial council made its decision. However, the proposed merging of Good Samaritan and Pottsville Hospital and Warne Clinic, announced in April, will mean Good Samaritan will no longer be considered a Catholic hospital, and the sisters would have been removed from service eventually.

Dr. Maqsood Malik called the Daughters of Charity "kind, generous and cooperative."

"We'll miss them and wish them the best for a happy future," he said.

President Judge William E. Baldwin said the Daughters of Charity weren't originally from the community.

"They saw the need and brought their talents, devotion and assets to the hospital," Baldwin, vice chairman of the Good Samaritan Board, said. "They were totally devoted for 28 years. We're happy we had them for the time we did."

Bernard G. Koval, president and CEO of Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, said acknowledging the 57 sisters who have been missioned at the hospital since 1980 is a privilege.

"We owe so much to the Daughters of Charity," he said. "They were good for the community and the city, and certainly good for Good Samaritan," he said.

Helena Moore and Kathleen Valibus, both medical technologists at the hospital, said the loss of the sisters is saddening.

"We'll miss all the sisters," said Moore, who has been at the hospital for the same amount of time as the Daughters of Charity -- 28 years.

"The sisters brought peace and comfort to the families and the employees," Valibus said.

Sister Clarisse Correia, D.C., chairwoman of the hospital's board of trustees, said the Daughters of Charity will be giving crosses to all hospital employees.

"The cross is the Christian symbol for suffering," she said. "It's also a sign of resurrection, which represents hope."

Founded in 1920, Good Samaritan's original name was the A.C. Miliken Hospital, a 30-bed converted home, which was established by a group of area physicians. The hospital first became a Catholic facility in 1929 when it was placed in the hands of the Missionary Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. It was at this time the facility was renamed the Good Samaritan Hospital, according to Michelle H. Canfield, the hospital's community relations director.

In 1980, the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent DePaul accepted an invitation to assume sponsorship of the hospital from the Missionary Sisters. The Daughters' sponsorship allowed Good Samaritan Hospital to remain a Catholic health care facility and continue its mission of service to the sick and poor.


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