Santa Fe’s St. Vincent Orphanage

Founded in 1891, the St. Vincent’s Orphan Asylum was under the direction of Sister Theodogin Farn and Sister Catherine Mallon. Sister Vincent O’Keefe and Sister Pauline Keo founded St. Vincent Hospital. All four nuns lived in an L-shaped adobe home with a dirt floor that later became the hospital.

Sisters of Charity Arrive in Santa Fe

In 1865 four nuns of the Sisters of Charity arrived from Cincinnati at the behest of Archbishop Jean Baptist Lamy. They opened a hospital that later became St. Vincent Hospital and also, St. Vincent Orphan Asylum. Two of the sisters, who had been nurses during the Civil War, had to support themselves on their way to Santa Fe by begging at mining camps and railroad stations. St. Vincent Hospital was the first organized healthcare facility in Territorial New Mexico.

The Sisters of Loretto were the first to be invited in 1852 by Archbishop Lamy to come to Santa Fe. The nuns founded an academy for girls the following year. For the next 115 years, Loretto Academy provided quality education for thousands of women in Santa Fe on property just off the plaza where the Loretto Inn and Loretto Chapel are located today. In 1969, the school closed and became a part of St. Michael’s High School. In 2012, the Sisters of Loretto celebrated their 200 year anniversary in the United States.

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