Hospital opening on 8 September 1957 by Archbishop Duhig.
Hospital opening on 8 September 1957 by Archbishop Duhig.

Beacon of hope celebrates milestone anniversary

WHEN Mother Mary Aikenhead saw the suffering of the poor and disadvantage all around her she was determined to do something about it and went on to found the Religious Sisters of Charity to help those in need.

She could not have known her charitable efforts and determination to act, would result in the celebration of a milestone anniversary this month for Brisbane's St. Vincent's Private Hospital.

It was in 1954 that the Sisters of Charity received a gift of land from a generous benefactor, Mary Bedford, which is where the hospital stands today. Mary Bedford gifted the land to show honour to her friend Dr. Lilian Cooper, the first female doctor registered in Queensland.

Mary Bedford's wish was for the Religious Sisters of Charity to establish a hospice for the sick and terminally ill, especially those with no means of support.

In 1957 the hospital was established thanks to Mary Bedford's generous donation along with a great deal of help from the community. The Sisters opened the hospital as Mt. Olivet Hospital and cared for everyone who entered its doors.

Thanks to those pioneering women of vision and compassion, the hospital is now Queensland's largest palliative care provider and a beacon of hope and comfort to thousands every year.

The staff and patients of yesteryear as well as today, along with their families all are part of the hospital's rich history.

"A visual reminder of the history of this facility is through the Heritage Walk," Michael Hart, Mission Executive at the hospital said. "It runs the length of the corridor on the lower ground and is prominent throughout the ground floor and reception area. It tells the story of the establishment of the hospital and highlights the generosity of so many benefactors and volunteers through the years. There is a very conscious focus on sharing the story with staff through orientation and mission formation programs."

Some of the Sisters of Charity now live in Marycrest, the residential care facility section of on the same site as St Vincent's Private Hospital. "Staff look forward to seeing the Sisters when we hold functions and on special occasions," Mr. Hart said.

"The beautiful Giovanni Chapel is shared between Mayrcrest and the hospital and is a wonderful physical reminder of the foundation and tradition upon which the hospital has been built."

Although six decades have passed since the Sisters of Charity had the foresight and determination to make inroads in helping the poor and needy, their philosophy still applies today and is the fundamental principle of everyday life at the hospital.

"A commitment to service of the poor and vulnerable is at the core of St Vincent's mission and values," Mr. Hart said. "It flows directly from the example of the Sisters of Charity in whose footsteps we follow. The hospital takes seriously its commitment to justice and compassionate care for all. This commitment is demonstrated through the social justice initiatives we support in partnership with Micah Projects around homelessness and Mater Health regarding the health and wellbeing of refugees."

Almost a quarter of the permanent workforce at St. Vincent's Private Hospital has been on staff for more than 10 years, showing a sense of commitment and enjoyment of their work in helping the hospital's mission and values.


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