Letter That Launched St. Vincent's 

Here is a copy of the original correspondence that preceded the Daughters of Charity founding St. Vincent's Hospital. All the original letters in our files are in script. This is the earliest one we have in our collection, dated 1910.

Church of the Immaculate Conception
Jacksonville, Florida
December 14, 1910

Rev. Mother Superior
Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul
Emmitsburg, Md.

Dear Rev. Mother:

Dr. Gerry R. Holden, a prominent and highly esteemed physician of this city who is at present attending a meeting of medical men at Nashville, Tenn. will call upon you in the course of a few days for the purpose of seeking your co-operation and aid in establishing and conducting a Sisters’ Hospital in this city. We have for a long time wished to have a hospital here in charge of Sisters and now a most favorable opportunity presents itself. A few years ago some of the principal doctors of this city established a hospital – “The DeSoto Sanitorium”; under lay supervision it has not turned out satisfactory, and they are anxious now to turn it over to the Sisters – to rent, lease or buy on most favorable terms.

There is a splendid opening here for Sisters to engage in such work. This is a city of upwards of 70,000 inhabitants. There are only two hospitals – moderate in size and equipment and inadequate for the growing needs of this city. The DeSoto is the better of the two, it contains perhaps accommodations for 50 or 60 patients. It is situated in the most favorable location in the city in a residential section overlooking one of the parks. The doctors of the city are enthusiastic about the proposition and the Bishop of the Diocese will give his warmest approval.

I hope you will see your way to give consideration to the more detailed information Dr. Holden will give you, and that we will have the pleasure and privilege of your work amongst us here. There is no Catholic hospital in Florida, and if we can get the present buildings it will be the nucleus of a great institution. It is modest enough at present, but fortunately sufficient building space can be got I think readily and advantageously to develop it into an institutions which will be the means of advancing the church’s interest and influence here, of doing untold good for humanity, and of saving many a soul. I beg to remain, dear Rev. Mother.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Michael Maher, Pastor
Church of the Immaculate Conception

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