American Minute with Bill Federer JAN. 23 - Who invented hospitals...and WHY?
American Minute with Bill Federer
JAN. 23 - Who invented hospitals...and WHY? Religious Convictions & the History of Healthcare
"It is not just about sterilization, abortifacients, and chemical contraception...
It's about religious freedom, the sacred right, protected by our constitution..."
- Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, October 29, 2012, responding to the President's HHS healthcare mandates.
Cardinal Dolan, as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), 2010-2013, continued:
President announced...the choking mandates from HHS would remain - a
shock to me, since he had personally assured me that he would do nothing
to impede the good work of the Church...that he considered the
protection of conscience a sacred duty...
There was still no
resolution about the handcuffs placed upon... Catholic charitable
agencies...just because they will not refer victims of human
trafficking, immigrants and refugees, and the hungry of the world, for
abortions, sterilization, or contraception."
On May 21, 2012, the Archdiocese of New York filed a historic Federal lawsuit against the HHS mandate:
order to protect our religious liberties from unwarranted and
unprecedented government intrusion, the Archdiocese of New York has
filed suit in federal court today seeking to block the recent Health and
Human Services mandate that unconstitutionally attempts to define the
nature of the Church's religious ministry and would force religious
employers to violate their consciences."
The Catholic Church is the oldest institution in the Western World and the originator of 'hospitals'.
Just as the Syrian Church did in the East, the Catholic Church in the West pioneered putting into practice the words of Jesus:
"I was sick and you visited me,"
"Whatever you have done to the least of my brethren, you have done unto me."
Though some ancient cultures had some medical/superstitious practices, it was primarily for the royalty and wealthy.
Health care for the poor traces its roots to Christianity.
the 4th century, under the ministry of St. Jerome, a wealthy Christian
widow named St. Fabiola gave money to build a hospital in Rome and cared
for the sick herself.
Around the same time, St. Basil distributed food to the poor of Caesarea, then built a poorhouse, hospice, and hospital.
325 AD, the Council of Nicea directed that every city having a
cathedral should also have a hospital, as people traveling on
pilgrimages would often arrive ill.
The word "hosp" is Latin for
"traveler," the root word of hospital, hospitality, host, hostel and
hotel. Hospitals were staffed by religious orders.
In the 6th century, the Benedictine Order had every monastery establish an infirmary.
With the invasion of Islam, hospitals needed to be defended, giving rise to the order of Knights of Hospitallers.
In the 1300's, the Bubonic Plague, or Black Death, ravaged Europe killing 75 million people.
Crops were left standing in fields as there was no one to harvest them.
often no one to bury the dead, an order of Catholic men called 'Alexian
Brothers' collected the bodies and gave them a Christian burial.
They also ministered to the dying who were banished from the cities.
More Catholic religious orders formed to care for the sick, nurse the ill, change bed pans, and start leper colonies, such as:
Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul (founded 1633);
Sisters of St. Joseph (founded 1650);
Sisters of Mercy (founded 1827);
Little Sisters of the Poor (founded 1839);
Sisters of Providence (founded 1843);
Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine (founded 1851);
Fr. Damien's colony for lepers in Hawaii (founded 1864);
Sisters of St. Mary (founded 1872);
Sisters of the Little Company of Mary (founded 1877),
Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother (founded 1883);
The nuns' habit, with its distinctive hat, developed into the original nurses' outfit.
Catholic religious orders also collected alms and sailed to North
Africa to ransom Europeans who had been kidnapped into Muslim slavery.
of the oldest hospitals in Europe was the Hôtel-Dieu in Paris, founded
in 660AD, which was staffed by Sisters following the Rule of St.
Augustine from about 1217.
1633, the Sisters of Charity first helped at the Hotel-Dieu of Paris,
then established hospitals for the sick poor throughout France.
1789, numbering 6,000, the Sisters of Charity ran 426 hospitals in
France, and more across Europe, in countries such as Poland, Austria,
Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and Silesia.
During the atheistic French Revolution's Reign of Terror, rioters broke into the Sisters of Charity's mother house.
nuns refused to deny their faith and embrace the new secular order so
the government shot them in front of firing squads and beheaded them
with the guillotine.
In 1793, France's anti-Christian government disbanded the order.
The order survived, and in the 19th century spread healthcare for the
poor across the world, to such countries as: Portugal, Hungary, England,
Scotland, Ireland, North and South America, Turkey, Syria, Egypt,
Persia, Abyssinia, China and Jerusalem.
In 1809, Mother Elizabeth
Ann Seton brought the Sisters of Charity of the United States. In 1830,
Sisters of Charity established the first hospital west of the
Mississippi in St. Louis.
the request of President Abraham Lincoln, over 200 Sisters of Charity
during the Civil War on battlefields and in military hospitals.
During the Spanish-American War of 1898, diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid fever, and malaria killed more soldiers than guns.
250 Catholic nurses, most of them from the Daughters of Charity of St.
Vincent de Paul helped care for the 28,000 ill soldiers.
with the Industrial Revolution hospitals were founded by Protestant
Christian denominations such as Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians,
Baptists, and Seventh Day Adventists.
Catholic healthcare originally focused more on the hereafter, being
motivated to prepare a person's soul for death and meeting God,
Protestant healthcare was focused more on the here and now, being
motivated to clean up slums in crowded cities and send medical
missionaries to undeveloped countries.
Wealthy individuals donated and provided in their wills to continue these religious ministries of charity.
Catholic and Protestants, though, provided free healthcare to the poor
'uninsurable' because of Christian religious motivations.
The New York Times reported, August 20, 2011, that Catholic nuns were trained to "see Jesus in the face of every patient."
Teresa reaffirmed this with the Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity,
which are dedicated to: "Wholehearted and Free service to the poorest
of the poor." They began by gathering the sick from the gutters in
India, and bathed them, clothed them, ministered to their needs.
Mother Teresa stated:
see Jesus in every human being. I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I
must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I
must wash him and tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus."
is ironic that in the government's take over of healthcare it would
force providers to abandon the very religious convictions which created
The Judeo-Christian religious convictions, which for
over a thousand years motivated people of faith to selflessly provide
free healthcare for the poor, are now being relegated as insignificant
by a utilitarian agenda.
Catholic Church, being the largest religious denomination in the United
States, is also the nation's largest medical care provider.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stated October 12, 2012, regarding a supposed "exemption" to the HHS mandate:
night, the...statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate
regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization
and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the
health insurance coverage they provide their employees...
That exemption...does not extend to 'Catholic social services, Georgetown Hospital'...or any other religious charity."
Georgetown Hospital was founded in 1898 as part of Georgetown University.
Georgetown University was named for George Washington.
It was founded JANUARY 23, 1789, by John Carroll, America's first Catholic Bishop.
Regarding freedom of conscience, Bishop John Carroll sent a report to Rome in 1790:
1776, American Independence was declared, and a revolution effected,
not only in political affairs, but also in those relating to Religion.
while the thirteen provinces of North America rejected the yoke of
England, they proclaimed, at the same time, freedom of conscience, and
the right of worshipping the Almighty, according to the spirit of the
religion to which each one should belong..."
Bishop Carroll continued:
this great event, the Catholic faith had penetrated two provinces only,
Maryland and Pennsylvania. In all the others the laws against Catholics
were in force.
Any priest coming from foreign parts, was subject
to the penalty of death; all who professed the Catholic faith, were not
merely excluded from offices of government, but hardly could be
tolerated in a private capacity....
By the Declaration of
Independence, every difficulty was removed: the Catholics were placed on
a level with their fellow-Christians, and every political
disqualification was done away."
Regarding religious freedom, Bishop John Carroll wrote in the National Gazette, 1789:
establishment of the American empire was not the work of this or that
religion, but arose from a generous exertion of all her citizens to
redress their wrongs, to assert their rights, and lay its foundations on
the soundest principles of justice and equal liberty...
An earnest regard to preserve inviolate forever, in our new empire, the great principle of religious freedom."
Carroll was the cousin of Charles Carroll, the only Catholic to sign
the Declaration of Independence, the longest living of the signers, and
the wealthiest man in America.
brother, Daniel Carroll, was one of two Catholics to sign the U.S.
Constitution, who provided the land where the Capitol is built and was
elected a Congressman.
John's nephew, Robert Brent was Washington, DC's first mayor, reappointed by Jefferson and Madison.
Carroll founded the nation's first Catholic seminary, parochial school
system, and persuaded Elizabeth Seton to start a girls school in
1776, the Continental Congress had John Carroll accompany Ben Franklin
to Canada in an attempt to persuade that country to join the Revolution.
Esteem for Bishop John Carroll led several States to extend equality to Catholics.
Bishop Carroll wrote:
and independence, acquired by...the mingled blood of Protestant and
Catholic fellow-citizens, should be equally enjoyed by all."
Bishop Carroll wrote of Catholics who fought in the Revolution:
blood flowed as freely (in proportion to their numbers) to cement the
fabric of independence as that of any of their fellow-citizens.
concurred with perhaps greater unanimity than any other body of men, in
recommending and promoting that government, from whose influence
America anticipates all the blessings of justice, peace, plenty, good
order and civil and religious liberty."
Assuring protection for freedom of conscience, President George Washington wrote to Bishop John Carroll, March 15, 1790:
under the smiles of a Divine Providence, the protection of a good
government, and the cultivation of manners, morals, and piety, cannot
fail of attaining an uncommon degree of eminence...
All those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protection of civil government.
I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations in examples of justice and liberality..."
President Washington continued:
I presume that your fellow-citizens will not forget the patriotic part
which you took in the accomplishment of their Revolution, and the
establishment of their government;
or the important assistance which they received from a nation in which the Roman Catholic faith is professed...
the members of your society in America, animated alone by the pure
spirit of Christianity, and still conducting themselves as the faithful
subjects of our free government, enjoy every temporal and spiritual