With snow melting under early spring’s sun, ground was broken in March 1961 for Holy Spirit Hospital – a hospital meant to serve the ever-growing sprawl of the West Shore communities surrounding Camp Hill. Two years later, the hospital was opened on March 3, 1963, as eight patients received compassionate spirit-driven healthcare in the new hospital run by the Sisters of Christian Charity.
Some 60 years later, the hospital is now part of Penn State’s corporate healthcare structure, yet throughout the hospital the rich Catholic tradition of providing help to the sick can still be readily seen via vintage photos, memorials and areas named after benefactors who made it their life’s mission to help the Sisters through the challenges of running an always-changing business.
Bishop Timothy Senior made a pastoral visit to the hospital on November 29, celebrating Holy Mass for the hospital’s administration and staff members in the chapel that is adorned with vivid stained-glass that dates back to the 1960s. The glass pays homage to the original mission of the Sisters in helping the poor, blind and sick in mid-19th Century Germany under their foundress, Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt.
“Things that are very valuable to our society and to the Church’s core mission seem at times vulnerable…. And in healthcare, much like in Catholic education, our institutions have been at risk,” Bishop Senior said in his homily. “We encounter Jesus when we encounter the sick. Suffering brings us a deeper communion with Jesus. Any person who is suffering we see Jesus, and we do it not because our patients may be Catholic but because we are Catholic…. Catholic healthcare is a great gift and an opportunity for sacrifice to bring the healing power of God who loves us beyond all imagination,” he said.
(Photos by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)
By Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness