Sunday, April 24, 2016

Book: Who Shall Take Care of Our Sick?

Recently, I saw a reference to a 2005 book by Bernadette McCauley, Who Shall Take Care of Our Sick? Roman Catholic Sisters and the Development of Catholic Hospitals in New York City. Amazon lists copies of this book. One does not have to pay a collector's price for this slim, very informative volume.  I have read the book and continue to praise it.  Not exactly a history of the Catholic hospitals in our city, it gives clear and insightful analysis of the reasons for and practice of the hospital apostolate from 1849 until the end of the 20th century.
Several constants show up in the book.  The religious sisters ran and staffed the hospitals, and physicians chose and performed the treatments. Fund-raising was usually the responsibility of the sisters. The types of patients and ailments changed with the quickly changing world of our city. A particular decade's problems could not be answered with out-dated treatment.
The following Catholic hospitals served the people of Brooklyn:
St. Peter's, at Henry and Congress Streets, was founded in 1859-1862, through the efforts of the pastor of St. Peter's parish. The Franciscan Sisters of the Poor (established in Germany by Frances Schervier) provided administration and staff.
St. Mary's Hospital, at St. Mark's Avenue and Prospect Place, was founded by Bishop John Loughlin. Sisters of Charity (Mother  Seton's group) administered and staffed this diocesan hospital and its branch, Holy Family Hospital, Dean Street, where Mom was born.
St. Catherine's Hospital, Bushwick, was founded by Dominican Sisters from Regensburg, Germany, the same congregation that had arrived at Most Holy Trinity parish, Williamsburg, in the 1850's. Please see the seven-minute video, History of St. Catherine Hospital and Nursing School 1869-1965.
St. Cecilia's parish established a maternity hospital, which was soon turned over to the administration of nearby St. Catherine's Hospital and renamed St. Catherine's Maternity Hospital.  Please see this informative article from Brownstoner. Several friends of mine were born there.
In 2016, Brooklyn has no Catholic hospital. The sole Catholic hospital in the five boroughs is Calvary Hospital in The Bronx.

Cathedral College, Washington & Atlantic Avenues

I have only walked by this large, impressive building on the northeast corner of Atlantic Avenue and Washington Avenue, but a new item in N. Y. Curbed (a website with real estate articles) talks about the renovation and offering of one condo in the building.  The link is HERE.
If I can reconstruct history from my fallible memory, Cathedral College was a minor seminary of the diocese of Brooklyn when "minor seminary" included four years of high school and two years of college.  Many of the students were not residents, as is true at the current Cathedral Prep in Elmhurst, Queens.  Priestly training was in the 6+6 format.  About 1980, the Archdiocese of New York and the Dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre switched to 4+4+4, that is, four years of high school, four years of college, and four years of theology.  In 2016, New York, Brooklyn, and Rockville Centre send most of their theology students to Dunwoodie in Yonkers. There are few high school seminaries in the United States.
Many of the priests who taught at Cathedral College at 555 Washington Avenue lived there and assisted in parishes on weekends. The people of the neighborhood suffered some bad years. A priest related how he returned to the college one evening to be met by a homicide unit and a victim in the courtyard pictured in the article.