Health Care Comes to Santa Fe

Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy brought four Sisters of Charity to Santa Fe. They came from Cincinnati, traveling by boat, train and stagecoach to open St. Vincent Hospital. The following year the Sisters of Charity arrived from France at Galveston Island in Texas. Upon their arrival they started the first Christus Hospital. Today, the hospital in Santa Fe is known as Christus St. Vincent hospital. In 1883 St. Vincent Sanatorium was built and three years later destroyed by fire. In 1920 a second sanatorium opened that had electricity, steam heat and a laboratory. Thirty years later in 1950 a new hospital began next to the sanatorium. In 1977 the hospital moved to its current location on St. Michael’s Drive.

A Jesuit Influence

Lamy was the first bishop and archbishop of the Diocese of Santa Fe. He was appointed to his new position by Pope Pius IX in 1850. Lamy arrived in Santa Fe a year later and encountered resistance. Eventually, the local clergy fell in line and the transformation of Santa Fe began. He ordered the construction of new churches and created new parishes and schools. By 1869 he started work on the Cathedral of St. Francis, now a Basilica, which was completed in 1888. Lamy had the Romanesque style church built similar to those of his native France. The cathedral was in complete contrast to the surrounding adobe structures. Throughout his time in Santa Fe, Archbishop Lamy ruled with a strong hand amid controversy. Today, a statue of Lamy graces the front entrance to the Basilica. When he died in 1888 his body was interned below the church floor.

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