ANDERSON — Times have changed, but the philosophy that helped build St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital 120 years ago remains unchanged.
The hospital is celebrating its historic beginnings this week in a combined celebration with its hospital week festivities, which normally occur in May. Organizers said several events are planned for employees as they celebrate the hospital’s birthday.
In 1894, John Hickey donated his 10-acre farm to the Sisters of the Holy Cross. The women of this order were U.S. Army nurses in the Civil War and teachers who had a vision.
“They opened a hospital in Anderson because they knew health care was needed in the community,” said Randy Titus, a spokesman for the hospital. “And the hospital’s focus is still kind of the same as they look for ways to better serve the residents of Madison County.”
The first year after opening, the seven Sisters caring for patients had treated about 80 patients, many of whom had brought their own beds to the hospital.
Today, the hospital has approximately 200 beds and is one of the largest employers in Madison County with 1,500 employees, Titus said.
Through the years, the name of the hospital has changed several times, first from Saint John’s Hospital to St. John’s Hickey Memorial Hospital, then to St. John’s Health Care Corporation before becoming Saint John’s Health System. In 2013, it was changed to St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital.
The Sisters of the Holy Cross have moved on to other ministries throughout the United States and around the world, but their work changed the lives of many in Madison County, Titus said.
In five years, Titus said the hospital will probably mark the 125th anniversary with more festivities.
“I think once you get past 100 years you need to celebrate as often as possible,” he said with a laugh.
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