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. In 2019, the ministries of Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health became CommonSpirit Health to facilitate the collective ability to serve the common good.
Today, CHI St. Joseph’s Children is the ongoing expression in New Mexico of the health ministry of CommonSpirit Health. 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 brave 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 – 3 years.
As CommonSpirit Health, our mission is to make the healing presence of God known in our world by improving the health of the people we serve, especially those who are vulnerable, while we advance social justice for all.
This statement is a formal declaration of CommonSpirit’s purpose; an affirmation of why we exist. Our Mission Statement is just 35 words, but there are profound ideas behind them.
“As CommonSpirit Health,” for instance, celebrates the union of two influential health ministries into one national health ministry. “We make the healing presence of God known” is, of course, the reason CommonSpirit exists; it’s the calling that has drawn us all together. “In our world” affirms our commitment to people and communities on a local, national, and even global scale.
“Improving the health of the people we serve” speaks to the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of people along the entire health continuum. It reminds us that we serve our patients, their families, our communities—and also each other.
“Those who are vulnerable” signals our dedication to helping people as they experience the fragility of the human condition. And, “advance social justice for all” is our pledge to leverage our talents and partnerships for the benefit of the common good, and to listen and be transformed by the voices we hear.