Monday, April 25, 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 Bronx shows up in this book in two ways. Pages 77 and 78 describe the medical college at Fordham University, 1905-1921,  a period of profound change in the training of doctors. Secondly, the book hints at the migration of three Catholic hospitals from Manhattan to The Bronx, St. Francis, St. Joseph, and Misericordia.
Only one Catholic hospital remains in the five boroughs of New York City: Calvary Hospital on Eastchester Road.  Mom volunteered at House of Calvary on Featherbed Lane, Highbridge. Calvary became a hospital in 1968.
In the early 1960's, I visited my grandmother in a large ward at St. Francis Hospital, 525 East 142 Street, in Mott Haven. In 1865, Franciscan Sisters of the Poor (Frances Schervier's congregation) founded the hospital in the German neighborhood of East 5th Street, Manhattan.  Wikipeda says it moved to Mott Haven in 1905 and closed in 1966.
Adjacent to St. Francis Hospital in Mott Haven was St. Joseph Hospital for Chest Diseases (or Consumptives), administered by the same congregation of Sisters.  Its address was 525 East 143rd Street.  A New York Times article from 6.4.1961 describes its impeding closure after 73 years. In arguing for its continuation, a staff doctor is quoted as saying that patient care there costs $10 daily as opposed to $28 in city hospitals.  I have been unable to find a previous location in Manhattan.  Maybe tuberculosis initiated its establishment in the more healthy air of The Bronx.
Professor McCauley, author of this book, mentions several times the Sisters of Misericorde, who came from Quebec in the 1880's to help single mothers in Manhattan. Their work evolved into Misericordia Hospital in Wakefield, The Bronx, about 1958.  When Misericordia (renamed Our Lady of Mercy Hospital) fell into financial distress about 2008, the hospital was purchased by Montefiore Medical Center.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Holy Rosary / Nativity of Our Blessed Lady

Above is Holy Rosary church on Eastchester Road near Gun Hill Road. See pages 484 and 486 in Thomas Shelley's book for the 1925 creation of the parish. The rectory is to the left at 1510 Adee Avenue, Bronx NY 10469, telephone 718-379-4432. The church dates from 1970, probably just before architects realized that imposing steps often impose difficulties. An alternate access is at the blue sign. Clicking on any photo enlarges it.
On August 1, 2015, the archbishop of New York merged the parish of the Nativity of Our Blessed Lady (two miles north) with that of Holy Rosary.  The parish bulletin displays the merged names.  Mass is no longer offered regularly at what was the Nativity parish church on East 233rd St.  The Mass schedule at Holy Rosary remains the same.

Above, a Catholic church that advertises the time for Bible Study!

If you click on the above bulletin pages, you might be able to read the text, which somewhat clarifies the size of the two parishes in the merger.

Above, the school in 2009.

For decades, the Presentation Sisters taught in Holy Rosary School and lived above it.  The school address is 1500 Arnow Avenue, likewise near the intersection of Gun Hill Road and Eastchester Road. The website of Holy Rosary Elementary School is linked here.