The history of CHI St. Joseph’s Children is a story of visionary religious women who dedicated their lives to responding to unmet needs with a special focus on the poor, alienated and underserved.
In 1865, four Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati traveled to the “faraway west” – Santa Fe, in the New Mexico Territory. They made the 1,400-mile trip by rail, boat and stagecoach, coming in answer to a call for help from Archbishop John B. Lamy.
In 1872, 22-year-old Sister Blandina Segale traveled alone to the west where she would work for the next 21 years. Stopping first to work in Trinidad, Colorado Sister Blandina arrived in New Mexico in 1877 and immediately began work to build a 3-story hospital – the result was St. Vincent Hospital – the first hospital built in the New Mexico Territory.
In 1881, Sister Blandina began a new mission in Albuquerque. Our Lady of Angels, the first public school in New Mexico, opened in September of 1881, under the direction of the Sisters of Charity. In 1889, the Jesuits offered the Sisters of Charity land, upon which Mt. St. Joseph Sanatorium was built. The “San” opened its doors to all who needed care in 1902. As the population of Albuquerque grew, the Sisters of Charity expanded their ability to meet the needs of the growing community. The Sisters of Charity opened the first nursing school, the first schools for X-ray and laboratory technicians and the first blood bank in New Mexico. By 1983, the St. Joseph Healthcare System consisted of 3 acute-care hospitals and a rehabilitation hospital. In 1996, the system became part of Catholic Health Initiatives. The hospital system was sold in 2001 and in keeping with the vision and spirit of the Sisters of Charity and Catholic Health Initiatives’ “Spirit of Innovation – Legacy of Care” St. Joseph Community Health was created.
Today, CHI St. Joseph’s Children is the ongoing expression in New Mexico of the health ministry of Catholic Health Initiatives. No longer a hospital or provider of clinical care, CHI St. Joseph’s Children embodies the legacy of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati and exemplifies the pioneering spirit of the Sisters as we work to achieve long-lasting results by focusing on the health needs of the most vulnerable of our citizens – children aged 0 – 5 years.
The Mission of our organization was first given expression when the Sisters of Charity ventured west and has endured through our organizational history – To nurture the healing ministry of the Church. Fidelity to the Gospel urges us to emphasize human dignity and social justice as we move toward the creation of healthier communities.”