Let the children come to me. With these words Jesus shows us his great affection for children. He then, “embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.” Since 1869, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word have shared the love of Christ through the healing ministry of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health Care System.
Through their healing mission of mercy, they have earned the trust, love, respect and gratitude of the families they serve every day. Historically CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital has served an average of 150,000 children a year.
On April 20, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa announced that it would create the first freestanding children’s hospital in San Antonio by transforming its downtown campus into the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. Because of their faithful and practical service to our children I am proud to endorse CHRISTUS Santa Rosa’s expansion and transformation plan for a world-class children’s hospital for our community.
I offer my support with a confidence and trust that has been earned through decades of tireless dedication by CHRISTUS Santa Rosa, especially to the children whose families are most in need. Over the past two years, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa has provided nearly $15 million in charity. This total does not include the fact that 73 percent of those they serve are on Medicaid. Their continued commitment to the poor is also reflected in decision to remain in the heart of San Antonio. In the central downtown area, nearly half of the residents are uninsured and approximately 27 percent live below the poverty level. In the total CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital coverage area, 32 percent are uninsured and 17 percent live under the poverty level.
It was with faith, courage and conviction that the three sisters left the safety and security of Galveston and boarded the stage coach bound for San Antonio where they would establish Santa Rosa Hospital, the first public hospital, in 1869. It is with that same faith and conviction that CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System will once again answer God’s call to take this bold step to do what is right for the children in San Antonio, South and Central Texas — building on more than 50 years of expertise as the region’s only non-profit, Catholic provider of children’s health care.
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio will bring comprehensive, world-class care to one centralized location for all children and will be at the heart of an expanded network of pediatric services through the community. There will also be outpatient facilities and clinics throughout the region. From broken bones and stitches to cancer treatment and transplants, this will be the best place for our children to see pediatric doctors and specialists.
Change does not come without its challenges, pain and even risk. However, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa’s healing plan for our children is the right response at the right time in answering Jesus’ call so that all they serve, without concern for their race, creed, color or financial status.
Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word are responding as prophetic presence in our community; not because they want to be prophets, but because it is what needs to be done. Once again, the sisters have been chosen to listen to do God’s will and be witnesses to God’s love. They have answered in faith and with great affection. It was not an easy task in 1869 and it is not an easy task now.
The Lord is sending them out again to gather the children to him and let them feel his unfailing love. Through their example, we are challenged to join together in praying for and offering support to the new Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System and the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, and let all children come to Jesus, so he can bless them and us.