Bronx, NY / April 8, 2010: We, the Sisters of Charity of New York, are deeply saddened that a solution to the financial problems of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan could not be found. 

For over 160 years, our Sisters and lay associates at the hospital served the health needs of those in the lower west side of Manhattan. Sister Jane Iannucelli, SC, the Director of Sponsorship Services for the Sisters of Charity of New York, also serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Centers. About the decision to close the facility, Sr. Jane said:

"The leadership of St. Vincent's has been truly humbled by the massive outpouring of support coming from all over Greenwich Village and beyond, not just in the hours since our Board of Directors came to the extremely difficult decision to close our inpatient and acute care services, but throughout the last months when our fate has hung in the balance. We will never be able to adequately express our gratitude to our doctors, nurses and staff; elected officials; and the community that we have called home for more than 160 years for their unwavering support during these tough times. The Sisters of Charity acknowledge that the quality services to our patients are the result of the hard work of many colleagues. Though we wish there could have been a different outcome, we will fully cooperate with Governor Paterson’s efforts to evaluate other healthcare opportunities, including the potential creation of an urgent care center combined with other vital services for the outpatient needs on the West Side of Manhattan."

About St. Vincent’s Hospital and the Sisters of Charity of New York
St. Vincent’s was the first new mission of the Sisters of Charity of New York after we were formally established as a congregation in 1846. It got its start in a small, rented house on West 13 Street. Sister Mary Angela Hughes, SC, with three other Sisters, opened the 30-bed hospital November 1, 1849 to treat victims of a cholera epidemic that was raging through the city at that time.

St. Vincent's Hospital was a new type of mission for the Sisters of Charity of New York. Since first coming to New York City in 1817, the congregation had been in child care and educational ministries. This was the first hospital we opened, but it wouldn’t be the last. The Sisters of Charity proved to be so adept that by 1898, more than half of all private institutions in New York City were “Sister” managed hospitals. By 1908, when the congregation was comprised of about 1,400 women, the Sisters of Charity of New York supervised 11 hospitals in which 12,000 patients were treated during that year alone. In all, the Sisters of Charity founded or administered 13 general or specialized hospitals in New York.

St. Vincent’s always reflected the charism of the Sisters of Charity: to give every service in our power, especially to the poor and those who might need our service. The opening of the facility filled one of New York City longtime and desperate needs – a hospital that would serve those who could not afford to pay, as well as those who could. From the beginning, St. Vincent’s was a haven for the sick poor; it welcomed all who needed its services, regardless of religion or race.

In 1892, the Congregation opened St. Vincent’s School of Nursing to formalize the training of nurses. The school received its certification from the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York in 1905, one of the first such schools to be so recognized.

Besides providing healthcare to those in the Chelsea and Greenwich Village area, over the years, St. Vincent’s also treated victims of disasters, such as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory conflagration on March 25, 1911, the sinking of the Titanic in April 1912, and the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. It has served succeeding generations of poor immigrants over the decades.  

St. Vincent’s was one of the early institutions to respond to the AIDS epidemic.  It diagnosed some of the first known cases of HIV in the city in the early 1980s. It opened its Comprehensive HIV Center in 1988; this clinic was the first of its kind on the east coast to welcome and care for individuals with the disease who were turned away and stigmatized elsewhere.

The Sisters of Charity of New York hope that elected officials who vowed to fight to preserve some services at St. Vincent’s will be successful.

From the days of the cholera epidemic to the tragedy of 9/11, the Sisters of Charity have been in the forefront of the healthcare providers. We continue to sponsor:

  • St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Yonkers, which we established in 1888
  • St. Vincent’s Hospital Westchester, which we founded in 1879 – the first hospital in New York State for the mentally ill.

In response to contemporary needs and events, the we have expanded our ministries beyond the original ones of education, healthcare and childcare. We now:

  • serve in parish ministries
  • offer spiritual direction and retreat opportunities
  • work in missions in Guatemala
  • operate and serve in homeless, new immigrant and women's centers
  • sponsor a number of affordable housing facilities for those in need
  • are active in ecological concern

Information from:
Elena Miranda  —  Email: emiranda@scny.org
Director, Communications —  Phone: 718 - 549 - 9200  x 245
Sisters of Charity of New York  — FAX: 718 - 884 - 3013

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Sisters of Charity Center
6301 Riverdale Avenue ~ Bronx, NY 10471-1093
718.549.9200