St. Vincent’s Healthcare in Jacksonville, Florida has been recognized for years for its excellence in patient care, serving the area for more than 91 years. Today, the healthcare center is operated by a knowledgeable, talented group of directors such as Clarence Gooden, but its beginnings were far more humble.
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St. Luke’s Hospital
In 1873, St. Luke’s Hospital was founded by three women who saw a need for healthcare in the community. Susan Hartridge, Myra H. Mitchell and Anna Doggett rented a one-story farmhouse, opening two rooms to the community from October through April, the busiest tourist season. The hospital grew quickly, and a new building was completed in 1876. Before equipment was moved to the new location, however, arsonists destroyed the building. Through the generosity and dedication of supporters in the area, St. Luke’s opened a new building on Palmetto Street two years later. The hospital moved in 1914 and again in 1984 as it expanded to meet healthcare needs. In October 1987, St. Luke’s became a Mayo Clinic Hospital and, in April 2008, joined St. Vincent’s Healthcare, becoming St. Vincent’s Medical Center Southside in 2012.
St. Vincent and the Daughters of Charity
The Daughters of Charity took over the DeSoto Sanitorium on 5th and Boulevard in 1916, making it one of the first hospitals in Jacksonville. The Daughters of Charity were part of a worldwide Society of Apostolic Life whose members were called to serve the poor and marginalized. The women took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience but also vow to serve the poor. The Daughters operated the 42-bed hospital in a city with approximately 80,000 residents, only ten percent of whom were Catholic. In 1919, the School of Nursing opened and plans were made to build a larger hospital on the west bank of the St. John’s River in Riverside. In 1928, the new location opened and became St. Vincent’s Medical Center in 1972. The nursing school closed in the 1970s and, in 1991, St. Vincent’s purchased Riverside Hospital, which was closed in 1996. St. Vincent’s purchased St. Luke’s in 2005 and assumed operations of the hospital in 2008.
Mission and Values
Today, St. Vincent’s Healthcare’s mission is still rooted in the Catholic faith, dedicated to spiritual and holistic healthcare. St. Vincent’s is called to serve the poor with integrity, wisdom, creativity, dedication and reverence. It is the mission of St. Vincent’s go above and beyond what is necessary to provide care for patients, paying special attention to those who may be unable to do so for themselves. Generations of family members often work at St. Vincent which is why they treat every patient as if they are family. They strive to promote and defend human dignity while attending to the whole person. The promote the common good and act on behalf of justice in communion with the teachings of the Catholic faith. Their service extends beyond the borders of the United States as they send a team of doctors and nurses as well as other professionals to Haiti each year to provide medical care for the underprivileged in that country.
St. Vincent’s has been providing outstanding healthcare for more than 90 years with a focus on helping those who are sometimes unable to help themselves. With a focus on providing assistance to the poor through their Catholic faith, St. Vincent’s is one of the oldest not-for-profit health systems in the Jacksonville area.